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Columns Votes - December 2006

How did you pay for your college education?

Comments on  Husky Promise

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No student should receive FREE Tuition. Poor students should pay at least 10 percent.  Get a job or parents start saving in grade school for your child’s education. A little invested today will grow by the time a child reaches college.

I graduated in 1975. I was young and newly married, no children. I worked at a bank (about 30 hours per week from what I can recollect, maybe more) and also took out student loans. I distinctly remember that my student loan payments after I graduated were $15 per month (a far cry from what my own two daughters, one a recent master’s graduate from the UW, the other a junior at PLU, will be paying when they graduate, and they had parent help in paying for college, as well as working and taking out the maximum in student loans). I may be wrong, but it seems that the cost of college since I graduated has increased more rapidly than the rate of inflation. It hits those of us in the middle class the hardest. The upper class has the cash/investments to pay for college, and those in the lower class have many more grants and scholarships available to them than those in the middle class. I would like to see the Husky Promise scholarships be designated for middle class students who struggle with college expenses, but I understand that this is not the case, and that students must qualify for the Pell Grant in order to qualify for the Husky Promise scholarship. Those who are just above qualifying for the Pell and other grants, especially those with no parental financial support, are the ones who need these Husky Promise scholarships the most. I ask you to please reconsider how these scholarships will be distributed.

I think that all students should work for their college education. When someone else pays for everything, we tend to take the education for granted, rather than a privilege, which is probably why students such as myself do better enrolling in post-graduate classes and graduate school than they did as an undergraduate. I do not agree with the University handing out free tuition to 5,000 students. I believe they should work for their tuition just like my husband and step-son had to do. If we want equality, then we should start practicing equality rather than hand outs to the privileged few (5,000).

Do not approve of current policy of Regents that will give free tuition to applicants who have less than $47,000 annual income … would prefer long-term zero or low-interest loans, so students learn the value of ‘paying for themselves.” The University claims it needs more money. Why give away what they already have, esp. for politically correct reasons?

I was a working-class, single parent with children and little to no child support. I received grants, scholarships, and loans as an undergrad (in California) and at UW for Ph.D. scholarships, loans, teaching assistantship. I would, of course, repeat the scholarships and teaching assistantship. If I had had access to the initiative the UW now plans to implement, I could have made it without the loans.

Working part-time was overall a good experience, but only because I didn’t have to spend too much time at it. In-state fees were not too high in the late 1970s and my parents were able and willing to help out. Today’s fees are higher and not all families can help out their children, so the new initiative is a good idea.

I don’t like the idea of the “Husky Promise”—it makes more and more students “lower class.” Forcing middle- and lower-middle income students to take welfare to pay for college is demeaning and not necessarily a positive influence on society. I would much rather have the kids of the Bill Gates of the world pay much less than they otherwise could in exchange for affordable education for the majority of the rest of the student body.

If it weren’t for financial aid, I would not have been able to attend university, but it has left me with a big student loan debt that I couldn’t even begin paying off until two years after graduation. I wish there had been a Husky Promise for me.

After WWII and two babies, I returned to the UW for an M.S.W. and a teaching certificate, thanks to the G.I. Bill. What a lucky person I was! I fully support the Husky Promise program, especially since government support for education is dwindling. I have a suggestion: The tuition gift should involve work in UW departments and offices. That in itself would give students an additional gift that will serve them a lifetime.

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