Letter to the Editor

Your tax dollars for private schools

To the editor:One of the areas of concern in Senate Bill 389 is the start of a new student-aid program that creates the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Fund and provides that, beginning with the 2007-2008 academic year, a student "who meets the other eligibility criteria" shall be entitled to a state grant that does not have to be repaid. The language of the bill regarding the minimum and maximum award amounts is as follows: $1,000 maximum and $300 minimum for students attending institutions classified public two-year colleges, $2,150 maximum and $1,000 minimum for students attending public four-year colleges, and $4.600 maximum and $2,000 minimum for students attending approved private institutions.

You have read this correctly. Your legislators and Gov. Matt Blunt want to give, not loan, students money to attend private colleges. While all of us value the role of private schools, this is a use of tax dollars to benefit private institutions at the expense of properly funding the public colleges and universities of our state. It makes no sense for our governor and legislature to start giving private colleges and universities your tax dollars to fund those institutions when legislature has seen fit to fund our public universities at a rank of 47th in the nation. What is wrong with low-interest student loans? If you are concerned at the prospect of using your state tax dollars to fund private colleges, contact your legislators and Governor Blunt. Your opinions really do matter.