Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dem's Lied, So What Else Is New

Seems the Green Bay Press reports Diamond Jim Doyle lied to parents and children who signed up for free college grants. Must of been a campaign promise. I am SHOCKED, just SHOCKED! Democrats lie to voters? Maybe students should talk to their WEAC teachers about this.

"Some parents expected 'free ride' from Wisconsin Covenant program
By RYAN J. FOLEY • The Associated Press • March 30, 2010

MADISON — The director of the Wisconsin Covenant program acknowledged Monday she's heard from "a lot of parents" who believed it would give their children a free ride to college, but insisted that was never the intent."
Some parents expected 'free ride' from Wisconsin Covenant program | greenbaypressgazette.com | Green Bay Press-Gazette
Gov. Jim Doyle proposed the Covenant in 2006 to motivate students to attend college and help them afford it. He promised "the neediest families will receive grants to pay the costs of education" and others would receive a mix of loans, grants and work study opportunities.

"As long as the student holds up his or her end of the bargain, every family that qualifies for financial aid will get a package that fully covers their tuition," he said at the time.

While more than 50,000 students signed the Covenant in the last three years, the governor did not release details of the financial aid component until earlier this month.

He has proposed giving grants worth $2,500 to students with family incomes of roughly $25,000 or less; $1,500 grants to those from families earning roughly $40,000; and $1,000 to those from families that make up to $80,000. All others would receive $250 grants for completing the program.

Students would be guaranteed grants for their first two years of college. Doyle has said they will be eligible for additional grants in their final two years, but their size will depend on the availability of funding.

Republicans have accused Doyle, a Democrat, of letting down students and their families who were expecting more while acknowledging the state's budget doesn't leave room for more generous benefits.

Sharon Billings, who runs a service with her husband that helps parents plan for their children's higher education, testified Monday that she's heard from parents upset about the size of the state grants.

The "word on the street" was that students would get a full ride for fulfilling the Covenant requirements, Billings said. She called the size of the grants insulting., and "not even enough to buy a few books."

"I think it's a travesty of justice for students who have done their part," she said. "I don't think it's fair to them ... If we promise students we are going to do something, then we should follow through."

Covenant Director Shannon Loredo responded that she had heard from a lot of parents with similar comments, but the Covenant "was never intended to be the only piece." She said Covenant scholars will receive other forms of state and federal aid.

Indeed, Doyle's office estimates that Covenant scholars from families with annual incomes of less than $25,000 will receive financial aid packages of $11,000, including the federal Pell Grant and the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant. That is more than the cost of tuition for one year in the UW System, Doyle noted earlier this month.

UW System spokesman David Giroux said Billings' comments reflected the confusion about the program's potential benefits that had lingered since its inception. But he said regardless of what students were expecting, the focus should now be on whether the grants help change behavior during high school so they better prepare for college.

"I've got to believe that it will," he said, calling a potential $2,500 grant "a very significant motivating factor."

After Monday's hearing, Doyle's administration is expected to submit a final proposal to the Legislature in coming weeks with minor changes in wording. Legislative committees will have time to review the plan, and if they don't object, it will become final.

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