There are people who choose to be on the long-term college plan. They are the students who have been in college for six, seven or more years.
But then there are students who have no choice. They are the students who only have the time and money to attend college at a slow pace because they have to work or raise a family.
But they might be financially punished for their pace.
President Bush has proposed a plan that would limit the time students have to receive a Pell Grant. Students would be eligible for the grant for eight years for a bachelor’s degree and four years for an associate degree. The grant was proposed to stop abuse and free up funds for other scholarship programs.
Eight years may seem like a long time, but for some people it isn’t. It’s probably not enough time for students who don’t have the time or money to take more than a few classes each semester. Nor is it enough for those students at the community college who only attend part time.
Not everyone has the freedom to attend school full-time and finish in four or five years. Bush’s plan will punish the students who don’t. Why discriminate against those who can’t take the typical route of completing college? These students probably are depending on the Pell Grant to help them complete their education. It would be a shame for that student to miss out on graduating college because of a technicality.
Why does it matter how long you’re in college? Even those students who are completing their college educations slowly will play important roles, too. It’s likely that some of these students will remain in Bowling Green and provide skills that will benefit the city’s economy and the state at large.
Understandably, Bush does not want people abusing the grant and spending it on other things. Regardless, an exception should be made for some students. Perhaps it would help if students could report how they are using their Pell Grant and why they would need it for a longer period of time. Such a report would make it easier for students to be accountable on their Pell Grant spending.
Education isn’t about how fast you get out of college, but rather what you learn about while you’re there. There isn’t a need for a time limit on how long you can learn, so why should there be a time limit for what’s paying it?
This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 9-member board of student editors.