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Letters to the Editor 6/5/2003

College initiative would be a hand up

Dear Editor:

Mr. Wallace claims that a college education is priceless, so "why give it away?"

I guess Mr. Wallace hasn't looked at the price of tuition lately.

The reality of post-secondary education in today's society is that there is a distinct portion of society for whom college is not even an option. For these individuals, paying the cost that it would take to go to college is inconceivable. Yet, for many of these individuals they want better for themselves, they just don't know how.

Now, I am not necessarily in favor of raising taxes to create an initiative like this, as I am for the lottery being used to fund such a program, but for Mr. Wallace to discredit this concept all together is to be naive and uninformed.

You see, Georgia, in what seems like forever ago now, created a lottery and had the funds from that go directly to fund college tuition for high school students who kept a B average.

The college students then had to maintain a B average to keep their funding. Room and Board were not paid, just tuition and books.

You know what happened?

In five years the average ACT score had risen by almost 5 points. The average ACT score for incoming students at public colleges in Georgia rose 6 points to top ten in the nation.

So, what happens when you offer to pay for a high school student's college tuition, but tell him or her that they must keep a B to keep it?

You get kids finding out that they can make something of their lives, which results in higher test scores because of the competition that now exists to get into the more desirable state schools. This in turn results in larger enrollment at state schools which results in more revenue and thus lower tuition. You then have a more educated workforce that can make more money, which thus generates more sales and property tax revenue and the ripple effect goes on and on. So, Mr. Wallace all I can say to you is, yes a college education is priceless, but to enact an initiative like this would not simply be a handout, it would be a hand up to countless young people that would likely remember it for the rest of their lives!

Jacob Hogan