Promotion of financial aid by state colleges a worthwhile
We all know how important a college education can
be; it can open up doors and careers that would otherwise be unavailable.
We also know about how costly it can be. The expenses associated with higher
education is probably the single biggest factor in keeping many of West
Virginia's high school graduates from becoming college graduates.
That's why we think the recent push by our state's
colleges to promote financial aid that is available is so worthwhile.
West Virginia Wesleyan College president William Haden announced recently
that his college would be participating in a national campaign by the American
Council on Education to promote financial aid opportunities.
Also taking part in the campaign are Alderson-Broaddus,
Bluefield State, Concord, Fairmont State, Glenville State, Shepherd, the
University of Charleston, West Virginia State and Wheeling Jesuit. The
message? College is possible.
Haden noted that in talking with many admissions
officials, he found that there was a perception that Wesleyan was only
affordable to a select few. But as he noted, 94 percent of students attending
Wesleyan are receiving some sort of financial assistance.
The promotion will include college officials meeting
with high school guidance counselors to identify those students who may
be choosing not to attend college, primarily because of the costs. Counselors
will also be educated on the financial aid process so they can answer students
questions and get them headed in the right direction.
As stated by Haden, "Having the financial aid available
does no good if potential students don't know about it."
That's true. Not everyone needs a college education to be successful.
But for those who want one, we'd hate to see them miss out on the opportunity
to possibly better their lives simply because they didn't have all the
This editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial
board, which includes William J. Sedivy, John G. Miller, Julie R. Cryser,
James Logue, Kevin Courtney and Cecil Jarvis.
$2.7 trillion surplus: enough for a tax cut and Social
There is something wrong with this picture: In a
Gallup poll done in April 1998, 66 percent of those surveyed said they
felt the federal taxes they pay are excessive. But very recently, only
few Americans tended to view the $2.7 trillion in promised surpluses as
a real opportunity to change that.
Just last week there was a CBS News/New York Times
poll published that found that 64 percent of those surveyed wanted the
surplus money spent on Social Security, and less than one-fourth of them
12 percent said they would prefer a tax cut. Now $2.7 trillion is
a huge surplus. There is a lot of money to go around.
We have no problem understanding people's concern
that they can still rely on Social Security funds to be available when
the time comes for them to receive the money. We find it hard to understand
why interest in a tax cut has waned so much since, for example, the '70s.
In fact, it is quite difficult to see why tax cuts are not the number one
order of business in the U.S.
As stated in a USA Today story last week, in the
late '70s, "frustration over economic stagnation and high inflation fueled
a tax revolt aimed at both federal and local taxes." But the story also
said, "the weakened pressure to cut taxes is all the more notable in the
context of recent political history."
Tax revolt rekindled in the late 1980s as voters
rejected new state and local taxes, leading to the election of President
George Bush, with his anti-tax pledge. Even as recently as the elections
of 1997 and '98, governors were elected or re-elected in three states on
the appeal of tax cuts promised or delivered.
Regardless of how "fat and happy" some economists
are lulled into believing that some of the middle class is, there are still
quite enough citizens living from paycheck to paycheck who would benefit
more from lowered taxes today than from the promise of a Social Security
check tomorrow. This is certainly true in the Mountain State.
It is our view that there is enough money from the
surplus for both Social Security and a reduction in taxes. So we hope there
will be yet another citizens' effort to inform elected representatives
that a tax cut is what is needed now especially in West Virginia.
Robert F. Stealey
Telegram Editorial Board chairman