Letter At Length

Students need funds for Oregon to work

The following is a letter I wrote to the representatives of Oregon about their decision to take away important funding to students. I am hoping that others will get involved however they can, and write letters of their own.

To the people's representatives:

I have just been informed that the Oregon Student Assistance Commission announced that the Oregon Opportunity Grant will not be given out to any students that filed after Jan. 21, 2010. I see that the committee has already not done its proper duty according to the words in its name: student assistance.

This might have been the decision of Oregon representatives such as yourself, and by making this decision, you are by no means doing your job as a representative.

The economy is making it difficult for everyone. We all have to make tough decisions. But by taking money away from the students who are unable to entirely support their ability to go to school through their own financial means, you not helping the community or its financial crisis in any way.

Like most of my fellow students, I was not informed of this decision until after I filed my financial aid in March, which in all of my previous years, has been early enough to receive full funding. No where on campus did I see any information about the state's decision. Students had no way of obtaining this information, and had virtually no opportunity to apply in time, in order to receive the Oregon Opportunity Grant. Students were tricked to believe, by a convenient absence of critical information, that they would be receiving the same funding as always. I, like many others, had no chance to speak, and exercise our rights as citizens, before the decision to take away funding was made.

Because of the new financial hardship, many students will have to drop out of school. This will leave them in a more permanent state of poverty. This means the previous student population will be more desperate in its struggle to strive. Poverty always increases rates of crime, and the money you save by taking it away from schools will be over spent in jails, probation, addiction recovery, housing and other social services.

Some students are not working and only going to school, entirely reliant upon the financial aid and loans that they receive. When these students are forced to drop out of school, unable to supply for their own needs, and maybe that of dependent children, they will flood the job market, making it even harder for all job searchers, increasing the unemployment rate, and the same problems stated above will increase further.

As a previous California resident, I was able to go to school for less than $1 a credit, making one term of community college less than $20. Here, at $73 a credit, my cost has gone up to almost $2,000 a term after all other fees. My life has already been darkened by severe financial struggle. Also, the economy here is worse than in California. I have been unable to find employment because the job market is flooded by other potential employees.

If I am unable to receive the Oregon Opportuinity Grant, I will move back to California, where in times like today, it is more prosperous than here in Oregon. I will have to leave the place I grew up, my family and my home in order to survive. I assume there will be other students who will decide to leave the state for this same reason, which will further the economic downtown here in Oregon. None of these students will be spending their money or making money here. We need the students in Oregon to be financially stable, spend money here and pay income tax here in order to keep the economy from plummeting further.

As you can see, with the decision to take away money from students who are trying to better their lives and the lives of others by going to school, you are depleting the state of necessary resources cash flow. This was an ill thought-out decision and it desperately needs to be reversed.

Please help the people of our future — help our students.

Laurel J. Brand

Ashland

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