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Is College Needed?

Most children in school are constantly told the benefits of college and getting a college
degree. As generations of children are graduating thinking college is the only option, many jobs are being left open in manufacturing and skilled labor fields. It begs the question, is college the best decision for all students?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69.1-percent of 2018 high school graduates attend a college or university. This number has stayed about the same (65 to 70-percent) for almost 15 years.

Many skilled labor employers are seeing the effect, Market Watch’s Jefferey Bartash notes that this is the “tightest labor market in decades forcing companies to pay up.” Many young people enter the workforce with a bachelor’s degree, yet not the technical experience to take on these high paying jobs.

College is also becoming increasingly expensive. According to Nitro College, a college financial service provider, the average student will acquire $37,172 in student debt. Nitro also states it take on average 19.7 years for student loans to be paid for a four year education.

The cost of college is also rising. Since 1971, the average cost of a public institution has gone from $8,730 to $21,370. Private institutions have also increased from $18,140 to $48,510 during the same time period. With the costs of college rising, and the increased pay for skilled trades and other careers not requiring a college degree, many high school students are seriously considering whether college is really the best path.

Despite this, college does have its economic benefits. On average, those with a high school degree make about $712 a week. For those with an associates degree, weekly pay averages $836. For those with a bachelor’s degree, it’s $1,173. Those with even further education range from $1,400-1,836 weekly on average. So there is clearly an economic advantage to attending college; however, the opportunity cost must be factored in, as well.

Many high schools are putting in place programs to get students on the path to success, even if that path doesn’t include college. For example Greater Clark County Schools’ adoption of the academies sets up many students up for specific training toward certain careers without a college education. At Jeffersonville High School and around the country, many are realizing that college isn’t always the answer.

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Opinion

Opinion: The Flaw in FAFSA

The student aid application process has a fatal flaw: it presumes if parents CAN help with college costs that they WILL help with college costs.

Thinking about college can be extremely stressful. Not just the anxiety that comes with an unknown future, but something even more nerve wracking… money.

bellamadAs we all know, seniors or not, college can be very expensive. With scholarships, however, a lot of weight can be taken off your shoulders. But here’s the problem, how do you get scholarships if your parents make an above average amount of money? Most of the time, you don’t. And I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why would you need a scholarship if your parents make a lot of money?”

Well, not everyone whose parents make a decent amount of money actually gets help from their parents when it comes to paying for college. That seems to be the situation that a lot of students here at Jeffersonville High School are experiencing.

That little question concerning parent income included in scholarship applications assumes parents will aid financially with college, but that is not always an accurate assumption. Of course, they have scholarships for all different kinds of things that don’t require information about your parent’s yearly earnings.

If you’re a senior, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can be a big help, but only if you qualify. Part of the application asks you what your parents’ annual income is, which is the dreaded question for those whose parents are well-off.

No one ever complains that their parents “make too much money” until it comes to paying for college. It practically takes you out of the running for these types of things, and that is absolutely awful if you’re one of those students whose parents aren’t contributing.

According to the Indiana Financial Aid and Activity Program Report from the 2013-2014 school year, “…financial need is equal to the cost of tuition and fees minus the expected contribution of the student and his or her family.” This sounds great, truly need-based, but I have yet to run into a scholarship application that asks for income as well as how much support you are receiving from your parents financially.

As reported by the 2017 Indiana College Readiness Report, out of the 456 students that graduated from Jeff High in 2017, only 40 of those students were 21st century scholars. The 21st century scholarship program offers Indiana students a chance to get up to four years of fully paid tuition at multiple Indiana colleges. However, this only applies to students whose family income does not exceed $45,000 (for a family of 4). Who says those parents aren’t providing more financial help than parents who make more than that?

People tend to expect that when your parents make a lot of money, you don’t have to worry about college debt – but that’s not really how it works. Bigger paychecks tend to mean bigger bills. This means that even parents that make a lot of money don’t have enough to save for their children’s college tuition by the time all the bills have been paid.

What can we do? We could just make college kids rack up more and more student debt over the years, or we could get rid of that sickening question and give scholarships based on actual need, not assumed need.

Written by Kristen Jacobs

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News

Editorial: Jeffersonville’s Promise Deserves the Chance to Prove its Value

When Jeffersonville’s Promise was announced in November, many praised the program as a way to give hope to the hopeless. The program promised two free years of tuition at Ivy Tech for qualifying Jeff High graduates, starting with this year’s senior class. When you consider that more than half of the students at Jeff High receive free or reduced price lunches, the impact of Jeffersonville’s Promise is monumental for those who could not afford college otherwise.

However, a bill recently introduced in the state House of Representatives puts the future of Jeffersonville’s Promise in doubt. House Bill 1596, which is primarily sponsored by Ed Clere, R-New Albany, would stop or curtail the program. After a quick decision to move forward with the bill in a committee, this week the bill was moved to a different committee, according to a report in the News and Tribune.

For now, the program still stands while Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore continues to advocate for the program.

We, the Hyphen staff, believe the bill sheds light on the need to define more rigorous standards for how the scholarship money is used. However, we believe that Jeffersonville’s Promise should stand, because it is a wise use of tax dollars. Just as we use tax dollars to provide libraries and public schools for citizens, we should use tax dollars to provide college education.

Some would say that Clere is using this measure to continue the ongoing feud between Jeffersonville and New Albany high schools. The issues are deeper than that. But there is one thing we can all agree on: a more educated population in Jeffersonville benefits our entire area — including New Albany.

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News

Ivy Tech Scholarships: “Jeffersonville’s Promise” for the Future

A promise, a college education and a future. Many students stress about having enough money to attend college. However, the city of Jeffersonville has a solution and recently announced that they have partnered with community college Ivy Tech to offer a two-year scholarship to the graduates of Jeffersonville High School, starting with the Class of 2019. The program, “Jeffersonville’s Promise,” means that graduates are now able to attend two years of college at Ivy Tech for free.

Scott Hawkins, a social studies teacher at Jeff High and a member of the city’s Redevelopment Commission, explained how the program came together. “The program started with Travis Haire at Ivy Tech,” Hawkins said. “Haire contacted the mayor, who mulled over the idea for a while and in turn presented it to Redevelopment Commission members.” Other Commision members include Mayor Mike Moore, fellow Councilman Matt Owen, Monty Snelling and Jack Vissing.

“Our Promise is based on a similar program instituted in Kalamazoo, Michigan more than 10 years ago, so we had data to look at concerning effectiveness and impact. Four of us voted for the expenditure,” he continued.

According to a press release by the city,students must meet the following requirements to qualify:
• A minimum of a 2.0 G.P.A. while in high school
• Maintain a minimum of a 2.5 G.P.A. at Ivy Tech
• Accept all federal and local aid as well as scholarships before the Ivy Tech scholarship, as the program is intended as a “last dollar scholarship”
• Complete the FAFSA (The Free Application For Student Federal Aid)
• Enroll in classes with the intent of getting a certificate, certification or degree
• Enroll in Ivy Tech during the summer, fall or spring after high school, starting in 2019

There are no student income requirements for the scholarship, but Jeff High Principal Julie Straight anticipates that the program will be most beneficial to the middle class. “Our lowest income students — if they want to go to college through grants and things — generally they’re going to get it paid for that opportunity,” Straight said. “But the middle of the road where you have working families who make just enough … there’s a lot of people in that situation because college is expensive.”

Some, like junior Sophie Weber, are extremely excited about the program. Weber, who has juvenile arthritis, says this will help her family pay for much of her college.“My family does not qualify for much financial aid, but most of what we make goes to my medical bills,” Weber said. “Without this help I could be stuck in years worth of debt.” With this scholarship, she said, “I am able to worry about my education more than my financial situation.”

However, Weber is concerned that the program’s money will run out. “I am worried that the money will not accommodate every student who meets the qualifications and wishes to pursue this opportunity,” she said. “Even with taking every financial aid and scholarship provided first, it is not cheap to fund all this.”

Hawkins explained where the money is coming from.“It is funded through the Redevelopment Commission, which receives funding through TIF districts throughout the city,” Hawkins said. “No taxes or fees will be raised to implement this Promise. The money is already there.”

Overall, Straight thinks that the program is a win and gives much hope to students.“Lots of people (are) very excited and… the kids… that’s the best part. It really can be life-changing… It brought tears to my eyes when we were at the announcement.” It’s a win situation for Jeff High students,” she said. “For Jeffersonville as a community, for employers in Jeffersonville, we’re going to have a more educated workforce. For Ivy Tech, they’re going to have more students. It’s just a win all the way around.”

 

Written by Greta Reel

Categories
Opinion

Editorial: Benefits of the Ivy Tech Scholarship Reach Far Beyond Jeffersonville High School

The city of Jeffersonville has created the life-changing promise of a free college education for Jeff High graduates. Mayor Mike Moore and Redevelopment Commission members joined with Jeff High representatives on November 28, 2018, to commit $150,000 to the promise of free college tuition.

Despite some concerns from the community, this money is not coming from taxpaying citizens. “The funding is tax money generated by new business,” Principal Julie Straight said, “so it’s not coming out of our pockets; it’s coming out of new businesses that are generating income they’re putting back into the community through this TIF tax. That [income] goes into the Redevelopment Commission to decide how they use that money to help build up our community to further support business development.”

The benefits of this program will reach far beyond the students who qualify for scholarships. Making post-secondary education more affordable will benefit our city and our region, as well. We should expect to see business flourish now that the number of college-educated Jeff High graduates is expected to jump exponentially. The program will open doors for job opportunities and entrepreneurship. It could even attract transfers to the city. Jeffersonville’s Promise is more than a scholarship program. It’s a dramatic way to shed the reputation of “Dirty J” and embrace a bright new future.

Written by Bella Bungcayao