Jo Young Switzer
EVEN AMID ECONOMIC CHALLENGE, society has a responsibility to provide a high-quality, affordable college education to those who seek it. Unfortunately, we continue to resort to our old ways:
- Republicans and Democrats blame each other.
States blame the feds, and the feds blame the states.
- Parents and students blame the colleges for high tuition rates.
- Colleges blame government agencies for expensive mandates.
Blaming gets us nowhere, just further entrenched. Families, colleges, government and
donors share responsibility to make college
accessible. We absolutely must work together.
Students and families can help, by making
better choices with their personal finances,
saving more for college by separating “wants”
from “needs.” More than 75 percent of
Manchester College students have cars on
campus, cars that cost thousands of dollars
annually to maintain. Students make late-night
runs for pizza, even though they have already
paid for a food plan. Sacrifices generate important learning about
personal finance and deferred gratification.
Colleges must help. Manchester’s financial aid to students
comprises more than half our annual budget, exceeding even our
payroll. The cost of that student support continues to rise: Over the
past decade, Manchester-funded financial aid has soared 114 percent,
compared to a 42 percent increase for other expenses.
The federal and state governments help, too. Federal Pell Grants
and Indiana SSACI support students with high financial need –
students who simply could not attend college without such aid.
Donors are a powerful part of this equation. Their gifts provide
scholarships, buildings and support for operations. Their generosity is
essential to our students.
Hard economic times are the perfect reason to work together to
make college affordable. We are in this together. Our collaboration
makes students the beneficiaries.
JO YOUNG SWITZER