Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Student Over There--Letter 48

Dear Governor Ducey, 

I have a student who got into an excellent master’s program. One of the best in the country. While she and I were exchanging emails back and forth about tuition and cost of living, she told me she’d graduated undergrad with no debt. She also said her parent’s small business could make a small job available to her to help pay cost of living. The master’s program wouldn’t be free with her aid package, but she’d get about half of her tuition covered. It was a steal at any price, I thought, because this master’s program is one of the best and the faculty there are mind-benders. And, half the tuition is manageable, like the tuition at her undergrad.

She doesn’t have any ‘extra’ money. She isn’t a trust fund baby. She worked through school. She double-majored. She has true talent—by which I mean she has great curiosity, mind-bending insight, is willing read every thing she can get her hands on and has designed a strategy for how to make her work meaningful.

I wonder if she would still be able to do it, with this next batch of budget cuts. Could she double major or would she have to get a second job to pay for increased tuition? Would she have sought out grad classes if she could get out of undergrad more quickly? Would she have spent time in her professors’ offices if they were so enbusied with admin work and other classes that they could only give her a half hour of their time? Would she have emailed those profs at 3 a.m.? Would she have received my colleague’s and my guidance if we didn’t have time to check out master’s programs with her? To help her apply?

She’s a star student, an overachiever that has well-achieved and, because she had seen her fellow students receive guidance from their professors, heard of her fellow students taking grad classes, asked us what to read beyond course assignments, seen us in our offices to see if we’d read just one more thing, she knew there was a path to overachiever-hood. But what if there are no fellow students to follow her path, even around long enough to see it, when the budget cuts take full effect. The students work too much. The professors aren’t as available. No one goes to readings anymore, or meets after class because they’re all rushing off to their next class so they can get more done with less so much so that there’s nothing left for the students who would give anything for a little more and who would take that little more to a big program and say to that big program, I got that more, there.

No comments: