Sunday, November 30, 2003

Let's Talk: Readers respond on the week's hot topic

In last week's Forum, we asked if the state should guarantee that public college remain affordable. Readers responded.

State should keep costs affordable

The state should guarantee that public college remain affordable. In looking for colleges for my children, going out of state was a lot cheaper than staying in state. They offered more in financial aid even with room and board.

What I don't understand is how they calculate what they "feel" you should pay for college. Even if my husband and I gross $50,000 a year, that is not what we live on. Net is only about $22,000. That hurt my youngest son's chance of receiving a Pell grant for college this year. We were ineligible for it because we make too much money. Look at the net, not the gross.

Michelle K. Hodge, Sharonville


Colleges should help cut costs

It's that time of year again when high school seniors start to apply for college. As one of those seniors encouraged to do the best I can, it is very hard to work and stay on task in high school, much less get ready to attend college and be in the big world. Some students find it very hard to work to pay for college and to do their duties as students and receive good grades. In the story "The chaos of college costs" (Nov. 23), Ohio was rated as having an "F" in college affordability. How do colleges think teenagers can afford to go to college and be good students when it is so unaffordable to attend even state colleges?

Maybe offering school year-round via internet would help some students make college a little more affordable. Or maybe colleges can even lower some of the other costs they make students pay - for example, housing, food and parking fees. Investing in college can be a good thing, but at times it can be very stressful and an overwhelming cost to some students who have to make the investment themselves.

Lindsey Giesting, Colerain Township


Funding shouldn't exceed inflation rate

The cost of public education has become outrageous. Whoever approved the latest increases, at least to the extent they exceed inflation, are in la-la land and in dire need of a reality check. Not only should the yearly increases be reduced, but the state should also recoup, to the extent possible, some of the past excesses through a further reduction in current funding.

Sure, it would be nice to have the best facilities, faculty, etc., but not if they're beyond our ability to pay. The same would apply to a national health program - nice, but unaffordable.

Regarding whether or not higher education should be free, it should not. Quite simply, we can't afford it, and it would probably encourage colleges to increase their fees even more. Additionally, a free education would allow and encourage everyone to attend, whether qualified or desirous, and that, too, could result in even higher funding levels.

Rodney G. Haworth, Western Hills


Taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill for frills

Should the state guarantee that public college education will remain affordable? No, because the usual political solution to this sort of problem is for the taxpayers to pay for enough of the already exorbitant costs imbedded in our public colleges to make what's left affordable, rather than doing something about the costs.

Taxpayers have been willing to help with the costs of a college education because they think that the colleges exist to provide a service to students wanting or needing additional education. Unfortunately, this is not the case. To the educational establishment, colleges exist to provided employment to educators and staff, from college presidents to lawn mower drivers. If the college only served those desiring an education, there would be no reason to provide expensive frills (e.g., the $140 million recreational complex at Ohio State University or computers with laser printers in every one of Ohio University's 4,000-plus dorm rooms) to attract students. Anyone sincerely desiring a college education doesn't need bait.

For those who want the college experience to be fun and games, there are many private colleges eager to serve them. The taxpayer should not be expected to foot the bill for that.

John W. Moorhouse, Maineville

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