We <3 ASU. Sun Devil Athletics is pretty awesome, tanning by the Vista del Sol pool is hot, and we can geek out in any subject from microbiology to Spanish linguistics.
But let’s face it, without a substantial scholarship program, a lot of us wouldn’t be here. When $5,661 needs to come out of our own pockets, saving a few bucks at places like Manitoba Community College begins to look more appealing.
That’s why we’re concerned about the discontinuation of the AIMS scholarship program. Based on this semester’s numbers, cutting it would take away one more funding option for about 500 incoming students. For some, coming up with financial aid another way or asking their parents for money will be no sweat. But it’s also likely that some of those kids have no other way to pay for school.
Though the test itself is controversial, and we know from personal experience that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get excelling marks on it, the AIMS scholarship filled a valuable niche of financing education for smart high-schoolers who didn’t have the GPAs or extracurriculars to qualify for other full-tuition scholarships. Students who can see benefits from their work are more likely to take the test seriously instead of just doing the bare minimum to scrape by.
As a state university, ASU needs to make it as easy as possible for anyone who can handle the coursework to attend. Though choosing which programs to ax must be a thankless and painful job, we’re wondering if this choice was a mistake on the part of the University. We know that President Michael Crow has said he’s committed to making access a priority — if ASU has the state funding to back it up. How did the AIMS scholarship end up as a casualty of what looks to be only the first battle of a long funding war? In any case, while Crow and the state Legislature duke out the budget for the next couple of years, an entire generation of college students will be left in limbo.
And again, this is just the first round of cuts. Everyone agrees that things will get worse before they get better, that this is just the beginning of an economic storm, blah, blah, blah. If scholarships are already being cut in the first round of “trimming the fat,” as several legislators like to call it, our happy experiences as ASU students won’t be available for the class of 2013 and beyond.