End of tuition set-aside should mean lower tuition


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Oh, by the hammer of Thor: The state Board of Regents has finally woken up from its hypocritical, seemingly fraudulent, and dogmatic slumber of condescension and ignorance.

It's fantastic the regents, in all of their infinite wisdom, voted unanimously June 6 to continue discussing the topic of terminating the set-aside tuition program — I love it, I really do.

But voting to talk about a plan and setting an actual plan in motion are two totally different things.

There is no guarantee from the regents that really anything will change. Well guys, that's just not enough.

We all remember the set-aside program — you know the one that takes nearly a fifth of tuition paid by students and gives it to other students who don't really need it, but I'm sure appreciate it. It's the one that gives non-need based students full rides on the backs of others students paying full tuition.
Got it? Good. I wouldn't want you to be three months behind — don't worry I'm here for you. And if you need a little more time, take it, because according to the regents' plan, it will take about five years to eliminate.

What? Five years? I mean, why not stop it immediately and cut off 20 percent of tuition next fall?

OK, maybe I could buy into the "We need to find other money to give full rides to scholarship kids." Fine, you promised these kids lives of glory, so I guess you have to follow through.

Here's an idea, regents — let the foundations from the state universities pick up the slack. God knows they can afford it — not to mention it's their job.

With the UI Foundation's $1.2 billion in funding, it seems pretty obvious where the money could come from. The Foundation is writing blank checks to take fundraising trips to China, I think maybe they could fit in the budget a few extra free rides on the gravy train.

I totally understand the state wants to chip in on tuition for the students in need. And why not on the taxpayers' dime? The children-are-our-future type of thing. But the state needs to drop the non-need based scholarships like they are hot; seriously, because if it doesn't, it's just tuition set-aside on a larger scale.

Great, everything is figured out, we're all happy, and I have nothing left to bitch about for a while. Perfect.

Gotch'ya. I almost had you going there. There is no guarantee tuition will go down if the policy is eliminated, Regent Bruce Rastetter said in an interview with the DI.

No guarantee. So, despite the tuition hikes, despite the bad economy, despite the unemployment rate, and the difficulty finding a job, and the school loans, and the fraud since 2004, they are not guaranteeing lower tuition. Nothing will change, expect the regents can go out and tell us they are on our side and they voted unanimously to stop this policy.

And for the next five years, while the regents are touting their efforts to stop this horrible and tragic policy, we are lulled into a false sense of security. No guarantee. They could just wait until we are all graduated and have forgotten about this insane policy, dumbed down by bills and kids and spouses, and decide to reinstate set-aside and hide it as they did back in 2004.

Nothing has been done: There is no parade here; there is no victory dance or party; there is a long road, and a need for a vigilant, educated watchdog public.

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