The start of a new semester calls to mind a number of images—trips to the store to buy the perfect notebook to store all your smart thoughts, hours in the local coffee shop pouring over textbooks, combing through the grocery store for the perfect seven-nights-a-week Ramen, university governing boards raising tuition.
While you were at the beach this summer, the state university system’s governing board approved a 7 percent tuition increase, on top of the 8 percent increase that had been previously approved. The Florida Legislature also voted earlier this year to cut Bright Futures Scholarship awards by 20 percent.
Graduate students didn’t escape the summer unscathed, either. Congress passed the Budget Control Act on August 2. As part of the bill, graduate students will no longer be able to receive subsidized loans beginning July 1, 2012. Graduate students that take out federal loans will have to begin paying the interest on their loans while still in school.
The college graduation rate in the U.S. is still lagging behind other developed nations, by the way—behind Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand… you get the idea.
Many of the nations top doers, thinkers and policy makers have spent time in recent years bemoaning this country’s college graduation rates, yet our elected officials—state and federal—continue passing legislation making it that much harder to pay for it.
Whether your financing your education through your parents, multiple part-time jobs, scholarships or loans, someone is investing in you. It’s worth paying attention to the decisions the state and federal legislatures, and university system, are making about higher education. Their decisions affect your time, your money, your future.
While you’re committed to being a smart student in the classroom, The Crow’s Nest staff is committed to providing you with news and information you can use to be a smart USF St. Petersburg community member outside the classroom, whether you’re a freshman just stepping foot on a college campus, or you’re getting ready to apply for graduation.
But don’t stop there. USF St. Petersburg doesn’t exist in a bubble. It’s part of a thriving, eclectic city, where stories about everything from the arts to local politics to important social issues play out daily. Go beyond the campus boundaries—become informed and engaged with the city, and the Tampa Bay region as a whole. And the rest of the state, too, while you’re at it. Your education depends on it.