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Exponent Editorial 2-9

Promotion of financial aid by state colleges a
worthwhile effort

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 information.

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.

Telegram Editorial 2-9

$2.7 trillion surplus: enough for a tax cut
and Social Security

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

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