Monday, November 02, 2009

Saginaw Valley Will Pay Cost of Promise Scholarship With Stimulus Funds

Thank the nice President and Congressional Democrats for doing what the cowards in our Legislature wouldn't. Saginaw Valley State University will take care of the cost of Promise Scholarship for this semester, and apparently they will use funding provided by the federal government to do it. This will take away those funds from other areas that the university had intended on improving, but they felt that keeping a promise to students was more important at this time.
The nearly 1,400 SVSU students who were credited to receive Promise funds this fall will have those monies paid for by the university.

“We believe it would be terribly unfair to them and their families, who believed in good faith that these scholarships would be fully paid, to now require them to pay retroactively,” SVSU President Eric R. Gilbertson said. “Therefore, the University is prepared to absorb this as a $700,000 ‘hit’ to its own budget. This is obviously painful, as those funds could have been used for a variety of good and important purposes.”

The university will take the money from its budget but anticipates paying it back with federal stimulus funds.

SVSU was thinking about a direct tuition reimbursement with the recovery money back in the summer, but instead will apply stimulus funds for the Promise Scholarship, and other "need-based" scholarships. Students are happy, the university looks good in their eyes - but it looks like this is for one semester only. After that....

“In the event that the Promise Scholarship is not restored, we’re not in a position to take that kind of hit for next semester,” (SVSU spokesman J.J.) Boehm said.

(Sophomore student Julie) Boon said she’s understands the university’s situation.

“But at least we’ll know,” she said. “We can’t blame the schools. We need to hold the legislators accountable and reflect that in our voting.

Commence with the pandering from the aforementioned spineless Lansing politicians. First, we have the House Democrats, who agreed to this cut in the first place, still saying "no, we can't!". Nevermind that overwhelming majority we gave them in this House; Mike Bishop is running this show.

State Rep. Andy Coulouris, a Saginaw Democrat, said he’s “committed to finding a way to restore” the scholarship cuts and other cuts.

“So far, I don’t think we have enough people to do what’s necessary to get that done,” added Coulouris, who said that he was “very impressed” by SVSU’s decision. “There’s a variety of other options we’re looking at, but we have to have the commitment.”

From who? Might want to start with your own side of the aisle when it comes to "commitment"; it was 15 House Democrats put the cut of the Promise Scholarship over the top. And from the Senate Republicans, who made this all necessary with their choice of the boy-tyrant for their leader in the first place, we get this...

Those thoughts were echoed by state Sen. Roger N. Kahn, a Saginaw Township Republican.

“To fund it, we need to find revenue,” he said. “And that’s available by raising taxes or moving it from some other program that we decided was overfunded or less worthy. We have to be finding sources of profit for the state.”

Kahn said he thinks SVSU’s decision “speaks volumes.”

Yes it does. It tells us that our state lawmakers are a bunch of wimps who have no problem passing on their responsibilities to other people, and then making excuses for it later. Funny how federal taxpayer money is "different" in the eyes of the Republicans, isn't it? Good thing Dillon didn't let Bishop use it for "more tax cuts" like the Republicans first intended on doing. Maybe we should count ourselves lucky.

Students can and should vote accordingly next year. Wonder if they teach classes on identifying political pandering up there...