Saturday, March 15, 2014

Colleges Give Money To Take Year Off From School

Few things better illustrate the decline our our educational system, the lack of work ethic (fostered largely by the decline) in our young people, and the continued enthusiasm to dole out free money while working families wonder how they will pay for their children's education better than this:

This article is a source of annoyance for me on a personal level as well as a mark of a society in decay. While the youth of China and of other nations that are overtaking us are studying to be engineers, chemists, computer experts, biologists, businessmen, etc. our youth are asking for - and being given money, to "find themselves" and get a "new perspective" of the world" as they take a year off between high school and college.

My youngest is a good student student, but is not going to be offered an academic scholarship. He's also a very good athlete, but athletic scholarships are only offered to the very best student-athletes. He has been accepted by a prestigious and very traditional military college and has no intention of postponing college to do volunteer work. If he did, he certainly would not expect anyone to pay him for doing so, because then it would not be actual volunteer work. There are numerous organizations such as the Peace Corps or Habitat for Humanity that are in need of volunteers.

Like millions of parents in the US, his mother and I will have to find a way to pay for him to get a good start on his adult life. Maybe, instead of giving away money for students to refrain from attending college for a year, philanthropic-minded college administrators   would find a way to reduce tuition for all students who want to begin their studies and their parents who are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. High school graduates who want to want to take time off to help anyone that they want - without subsidies.

Anything else is a slap in the face to working families.

"– A new program at Tufts University hopes to remove the financial barriers keeping cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, offering an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college.

This "gap year" program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can often add up to $30,000 or more.

Although gap years are more popular in Europe, they have started to gain traction in the United States. About 40,000 Americans participated in gap year programs in 2013, an increase of nearly 20 percent since 2006, according to data gathered by a nonprofit called the American Gap Year Association.

Princeton University began offering full aid to need-based applicants in 2009 and nearly 100 students have participated, volunteering in Brazil, China, India, Peru and Senegal. The University of North Carolina offers $7,500 to gap year applicants, while students at Wisconsin's St. Norbert College can receive financial aid based on need, although airfare isn't covered.

Lydia Collins, 19, a Tufts freshman from Evanston, Ill., said she took a gap year because she wanted to see what was outside of the classroom before committing to four more years of school.

"A lot of kids are very burnt out after high school," Collins said. "Taking this time to be with yourself and see yourself in a new community and light will only help you to succeed in college."
Collins worked in microfinance in Ecuador through Global Citizen and said the experience inspired her to pursue international relations, something she would not have known about beforehand.

Students who take part are able to see the world beyond the bubble they grew up in and return to school with a better perspective of their future, said Holly Bull, president of the Center of Interim Programs, which counsels students on taking gap years. Bull said the benefit of the structured time away from school is too valuable to exclude lower-income students..........."

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