The campus is into its second week of between quarter break, which stills so much of the throb and pulse of normal campus activity levels. Those of us mortals still here, for whom the break isn't, are using this slightly-quieted time to plow through some of the backlog of things that need documented, written, edited, or sorted through.
Have you been following recent changes in financial aid policy at the federal level? You really should. How aid can be used is getting tighter and tighter. Students can now use less financial aid toward college prep courses, and what they do use will count toward a total lifetime ceiling for some types of federal aid. This will ensure fewer students who come to college not-quite-ready for college-level coursework will be able to attend. Interest will now be charged on student loans during the six month grace period between graduating and (hopefully) finding a job that will allow you to both live and pay back student loan debt. These changes, and lots of other little cumulative cuts at the availability of student financial aid, continue to chip away at who can go to college.
Did you know that student loans debt now exceeds credit card debt in our country? This isn't because folks are taking more college courses (though more and more students have to take pre-college courses to compensate for what wasn't learned in their K-12 years), but because the cost of college continues to rise as state and federal budgets continue to cut funding for higher education.
Result: more and more only the already-resourced have access to a college education and more of the general populous remains less-educated. We may still decry the fact that fewer of our citizens are qualified to do the work of the 21st century, but our clearly-intentional practices make that a hollow cry. This stuff doesn't just happen. It is engineered.
I stumbled upon a small verse yesterday, credited to Persian poet Hafez:
The small man
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
In a world where opportunity continues to retract for most, continues to be further consolidated into the hands of the few, and where lack of opportunity is every bit as much a cage as anything can be, we need more droppers of keys.
I know I have quoted Bruce Cockburn's Broken Wheel before, but bear with me because I think it applies again here in this context:
Way out on the rim of the galaxy
The gifts of the Lord lie torn
Into whose charge the gifts were given
Have made it a curse for so many to be born
This is my trouble—
These were my fathers
So how am I supposed to feel?
Way out on the rim of the broken wheel.
Today's full playlist:
- Frou Frou: Holding Out For A Hero
- Don Byron: The Quintet Plays Carmen
- Fountains of Wayne: Laser Show
- The Killers: Mr. Brightside (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Mix)
- Posted via Hermes.