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Scary Times at School

Along with Halloween, the season brings frightening academic policies.

Tomorrow night the ghosts and goblins and witches will be swirling through the air and knocking at your door. They want candy, a lot of it, and the best kinds, too.  Ever get a box of raisins? We had one lady on the block who had failed to mentally leave the Great Depression and she gave out pennies. Even in the early 1960s, trick or treaters knew what that was worth – bupkis.

No one gives out money anymore, and if one Republican presidential wannabe gets his way, “no one” will include the federal government when it comes to students looking for treats in the way of student loans.

The darling of the allegedly enlightened segment of society—which includes some boomers who believe that libertarianism is THE newest thing, along with a large contingency of young adults who have been disgusted by mainstream politics—Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), is attempting to distinguish himself by offering his own economic plan for the country.

Although Paul did not include this item in his immediate and official plan, he did say that, if elected, he would eliminate federal funding for student loans. He said he feels that colleges and universities are charging far too much and that by providing subsidized student loans, the federal government is only perpetuating that trend. So I assume he believes that when the students can no longer afford to attend college, the schools will rethink their prices and respond to the economic reality.

I’m thinking that some of his most ardent supporters may rethink Ron Paul. After all, it is Paul’s core of supporters who would suddenly be singled out as a generation that will not be able to afford college. Alienating a big chunk of his currently tiny base of supporters is not the smartest campaign strategy. But it does make him stand out.

Here on the homefront, we’ve received our own scary academic “treat.” My daughter , who graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2010, received a little threatening note from Moorpark College today. The college claims that my daughter owes them $79 for registration fees for summer school. Doesn’t say which year. No matter, since she never attended that school. Ever. Apparently, way back in 2007, she was perusing the class schedule for a photography class but then moved on. She did not register, she did not attend a class, she did not receive a grade or notice of an incomplete.

Here’s the scary part: The very first time that any bill was sent to her was in October 2009. Being a conscientious parent, I tried to track it down back then. After spending hours on the phone with various business department folks, I was told that she could petition to have the charge rescinded. The employee said she had never heard of a petition like that being denied. So my daughter went through the entire rigamaroll, remotely from northern California, came down here to submit some papers, and the petition landed on the desk of the photography teacher of the summer class for which she never registered. There is sat for months. Eventually, she received the result: this teacher flat-out refused to sign it, refused to provide a reason, and refused to speak to her. Nevertheless, it has been two years since that silly little drama.

But now, four years after the faux registration fees were allegedly accrued, she received another bill. The undated bill for when this bit of alleged larceny took place contains several citations of California law and a clear threat to have the state garnish her tax returns if she does not pay this bill within 30 days. That’s right, I forgot to pay $79 for not registering for a class I never took in 2007. Doh! I’ll write that check pronto! Four years, no problem. Thirty days, uh-oh.

And I thought it had been written off or resolved or forgotten or forgiven or whatever they do when they realize it is THEIR mistake.

I would like to add that this little threatening and incorrect bill comes at a time when student debt for real loans will reach one trillion dollars this year and outpace consumer credit card debt.  Nice timing, guys.  Trick or treat.

fyi October 30, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Surprise!!! Students can't afford College now, hence the loans... Having federal loans does not make college affordable. It just harnesses students with extreme debt backed by all tax payers even the ones who don't take a college course with their lives. Simple redistribution. Ron Paul 2012 Let me know when California and you come up with a real cost for messing with that $79 bill. I bet the California has at least $500 bucks into it. How about you? Wake up liberals!! This type of story is the rule with government not the exception. Of course it doesn't matter to those who only receive from the government and care nothing for liberty...
windwardtack October 30, 2011 at 08:14 PM
That is false that Ron Paul did not cover student loans and grants in the immediate plan, he does COVER them, which is to say they are funded under his plan because with inflation as they are it would be too hard on kids not to have them BUT he says driving prices up so our children graduate as indentured servants is not a solution long term. If you think it is, I disagree with you.
Joan Bien November 01, 2011 at 12:07 AM
To fyi and windwardtack: Part of our country's problems are the people who accuse those with whom they have a political disagreement of not loving liberty or not being as fully American as the accuser believes themself to be. Here is the accurate report on Ron Paul. "WASHINGTON (AP) —...Paul said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he'd kill the loan program eventually if he were president... Paul blamed government intervention in the economy for rising tuition. "Just think of all this willingness to want to help every student get a college education," said Paul, who graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania before earning a medical degree at the Duke University School of Medicine. "I went to school when we had none of those. I could work my way through college and medical school because it wasn't so expensive." Annual tuition for Gettysburg College is $42,610 for the 2011-2012 academic year. Annual tuition at Duke's medical school runs $46,621, according to its web site." Accuracy is not simply what you want it to be or what you say it is. A fact is still a fact.

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