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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Current and prospective college students who apply now hoping to get state tuition help for next school year will be turned away, officials said Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"The state is on pace to receive a record number of applications for 2012-13 from the Monetary Award Program, the primary source of need-based financial aid. The scholarship money, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, was depleted by students who applied by March 13.

"It's the earliest the state has run out of funds for MAP grants, said John Samuels, spokesman for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the agency that administers the program. About 140,000 to 145,000 students are expected to get the aid, worth up to $4,968. An estimated 140,000 eligible students will be denied."

Now consider:

"University of Illinois freshmen will pay more than $24,000 this fall for tuition, fees and housing, an amount board members approved even as one trustee urged the group to 'keep tuition in check,'" the Tribune reported in January.

"New students at the Urbana-Champaign campus will pay $11,636 a year for tuition - a 4.8 percent increase - plus housing and fees that more than double that amount."

And that's on top of what happened the year before, as reported by AP:

"University of Illinois trustees voted Thursday to raise tuition for new students by 9.5 percent and approved a contract that pays the school's incoming president approximately $620,000 a year - about $170,000 more than the man he'll replace."

And that's not all, as reported by the Daily Illini:

"Other perks in the contract include a house in Urbana, a condo in Chicago and a University car and driver for all UI-related travel. He will also be reimbursed for all moving expenses and given memberships at country clubs in both Chicago and Champaign. Hogan will be provided with up to six tickets for artistic, cultural and athletic events at the University - for either business or personal use, according to this contract.

"Hogan also will receive a faculty appointment as a professor of history on the Urbana campus, with tenure."

Board chairman Christopher Kennedy - yes, that Kennedy - told AP at the time that there really wasn't very much discussion at all among his colleagues about the tuition increase or Hogan's compensation and perks :

"We should all applaud the fact that we've got somebody who's got that strong track record."

I wonder what the board would be like if its members associated more with the students it is there to serve instead of its moneyed administrators.

Now, is it possible that somehow the great work of a president can pay off in such a way as to ultimately benefit students despite the immediate pain? I doubt it.

How about a compensation package that rewards a university president for finding ways to lower tuition?

Instead, the stratification of America continues unabated - even within the elite class itself.

This is a generation that has particularly had it drilled into them that the best way to achieve financial security is to go to college.

"Those with bachelor's degrees, no matter the field, earn vastly more than counterparts with some college or a high school diploma, indicating that no matter the level of attainment or the field of study, simply earning a four-year degree is often integral to financial success later in life," U.S. News reiterated in a report last year.

"'The payoff from getting a college degree is huge and is actually increasing,' says Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, a nonprofit focused on boosting America's number of college graduates. 'For people wondering [if] a college degree [is] worth it: Not only is it worth it, but the premium is growing.'"

So is it any wonder that so many folks still want to go to college so badly - and not just for lifetime earnings but to deepen their education and pursue skills and dreams - that they'll write those tuition checks, even if means going deep into debt to do so?

"The amount of student loans taken out last year crossed the $100 billion mark for the first time and total loans outstanding will exceed $1 trillion for the first time this year. Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards, reports the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the U.S. Department of Education and private sources," USA Today reports.

Like everyone else in America, those who took on huge loan burdens before the financial meltdown of 2008 had little reason to suspect they'd end up on the losing end of Wall Street's machinations.

Hence the Occupy chant (and its variants), "They got the gold mine, we got the shaft."

Wall Street was bailed out; ordinary students are still being held responsible for near-extortionist loans (it's big business) they can no longer afford - even if there were jobs available for them.

Wouldn't you be angry?

Now the "primary source for need-based financial aid" in Illinois is tapped out.

(Unless you have the right friends.)

That's why forgiving student debt - so much of which will never be paid back anyway - is on the agenda of Occupy Chicago and that of other activists.

Folks need relief from mortgage and credit card debt, too. Banks and lenders got bailed out, why not us?

Primary Points
Notes and observations, hints and allegations.

Political Ad Data They Don't Want You To See
ProPublica and Medill look at Chicago TV stations' dusty files.

Kansas Now Poised To Win It All
In Nick's Picks.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Academically ineligible.


Posted on March 21, 2012

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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