College degree great investment

April 6, 2012 Commentary Print Print
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“ … You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. . .” (from “Freewill” by Rush)

Making choices is one of the great paradoxes in life. Even the act of not making a choice is making the choice to let someone else decide for you. While some decisions do not present us with ideal options or even positive options, taking control of making the choice can help us reduce our anxiety about the situation.

Last July, new regulations regarding continued eligibility for federal financial aid went into effect. Student Financial Support Services personnel developed a partnership with Learning Support specialists in order to help as many of our students as possible maintain their eligibility. Students who successfully appealed their financial aid suspensions but who could not meet eligibility standards within only one semester, received their award for the spring semester. A contingency on that approval is that the students must meet with a Learning Support specialist to develop a plan for getting themselves in good standing. Our goal is to help students learn the skills and develop the strategies they need to make good choices for themselves. Alas, a few students have already made choices that will result in bad consequences at the end of the semester.

Many students who indicated on their appeals that they would work with us have yet to schedule appointments or keep the appointments they have made. While they technically have the entire semester to meet with us and develop a plan of action, the reality is that working with them is only one component of our job duties. We make ourselves available every week specifically to work with the students who must see us. Waiting until the last week or two of the semester greatly increases the odds that neither of us will have time to see everyone who still hasn’t come in. For those individuals, continuing school will mean paying out of pocket.

We like happy endings. We want our students to make wise choices and to have the money they need to pay for school. Numerous email and print correspondences have been sent to those who have not yet come in. There is a kiosk in a front area of Student Support Services so that students can conveniently schedule themselves with one of us. The process is relatively fast and painless, but students must make the choice to participate. We hope to see you soon.

—Alta Price and Mary Turner

Learning Support Specialists

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