Tag Archives: budget

Budget Bickering in D.C. Can Mean Serious Cuts to Higher Education Access

Early on in his State of the Union address, the President spoke about the need for cooperation between both parties during the upcoming budget negotiations. He pointed out that $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction has come through spending cuts, and that more will be needed on the tax revenue side to get to the desired $4 trillion goal.

This $4 trillion mark, which comes from economists on both sides of the aisle, is seen as being a good “down payment” on the nation’s debt. But what kind of editorial about Washington would this be without mentioning an impending budgetary fight? Another deadline is looming for Congress, and that deadline is the sequester date: March 1st. The so-called sequester is a group of large budget cuts ranging from defense all the way to nondiscretionary spending worth $1 trillion, taking effect over one year.

This possible reality of a massive cut across all aspects of the federal budget has serious implications for everyone with a loan from the federal government. If the sequester were to go into effect tomorrow, Department of Education would certainly not be spared; it would be expected to lose $725 million in Title I programs (for kids in families under the poverty line) and $598 million in aid for disabled students, public schools and schools under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense.

While these cuts do not directly affect the Deptartment’s ability to give out loans, less money would likely translate into a change in what qualifies to get a loan for higher education; many people who were able to get a federal loan before, in other words, may not be eligible this time around. Federal loans are a huge reason I, personally, can attend USF, and I know my story is not unique. These cuts to the Deptartment of Education may not seem too worrisome now, but with a string of budget battles in our foreseeable future, these present cuts could set a threatening precedent of budget slashing and would greatly affect the ability of many of us Dons (and many college students in general) to even hope of getting a decent, affordable college education.

A Student’s Guide to Grocery Shopping

Rainbow Market-
Thai jasmine rice- $1.45/lb
Pinto beans- $1.43/lb
Oats- .78/lb
Walnuts- $8.65/lb
Almonds- $7.95/lb
Farfalle pasta- $2.09/ lb
Peanut Butter- $4.15/lb
Olive oil- $3.40/lb

Trader Joe’s-
Natural Chicken Breast $4.99/lb
Eggs- $1.79/ dozen
Joe’s O’s- $1.99
½ gallon milk- $3.69
Grain bread- $2.99
Baby carrots- $1.99
Bananas- $.19/each

Richmond New May Wah (Clement St.)-
Apples $1.19/ lb
Spinach $.99/ bunch
Avocado- $1.29
Lettuce 2/ $1.00
Sweet potatoes- $.79/lb

I practically live in grocery stores for a good majority of the week. I was never really taught how to shop for food and it’s in my nature to want to buy everything that I see on the shelves. When I actually get home and look through the things I purchased, I find that most of the things are good for a snack or baking experiment but won’t actually carry me out through the week. Shopping on a college budget seemed impossible for me to do at first, but finally, with the help of coupons, sales and planning, I have finally gotten the hang of it.

Staples and Pantry Items
The best thing I can recommend for students shopping on a budget, is to stock up on staples and buy in bulk. Not only is this the most economically friendly section of the grocery store, buying in bulk also allows you access to exactly how much of each item you need. Since there’s no packaging, the product is usually cheaper too!

A few things to stock up on:
- Beans- one of the most economically friendly sources of protein, pair it with rice for an easy meal
- Rice- rice is super easy to make in a pinch and is very versatile
- Oats- oats are a great source of whole grains and can be prepared for breakfast or baked in cookies!
- Nuts- great source of healthy fat and protein- also great for on the go snacking! Put them in the freezer to make them last longer.
- Dried pasta- one of the most inexpensive complete dinners to make and, like rice, is versatile.
- Olive oil- another source of healthy fat and a necessity for cooking.
- Spices- add flavor to any meal instantly.
- Bread- this makes great on the go sandwiches and toast for breakfast.

Stores that have a good bulk section:
- Whole Foods (Haight and Stanyan)
- Haight Street Market (Haight and Ashbury)
- Rainbow Market (13th Street and Folsom)- this is my favorite store for bulk!

Produce
Have you ever bought a huge head of lettuce thinking that you were going to make a salad but when you (finally) get around to making it, you discover that the entire thing has gone rotten? The best tip I’ve gotten about produce is to buy it either the day you’re going to eat it or just a few days before (like for apples and oranges). This prevents you from wasting spoiled produce and money.

Tips for good produce:
- Shop locally at Farmer’s Markets- a lot of vendors have extremely low prices compared to super markets and the produce is fresh and in season. Often times, they are also extremely nice and load me up with extra produce after finding out I’m a broke student
- Volunteer on Fridays in USF’s community garden between 12PM-4PM- volunteer for an hour during these times and you can have a chance to pick your own seasonal produce at the end of work!
- Shop for produce on Clement St. and in the Mission- prices for produce are the least expensive in these two areas and you can find a variety of fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.

Protein and Dairy
It seems that most college kids live off of carbs and snack foods. The biggest challenge on a budget is getting adequate protein. Not only is meat and dairy expensive but also there is only so much tofu and peanut butter a person can eat before they start to go crazy.
- If you or a friend has a Costco card, buy in bulk and split the costs. and products- not only is it almost half the cost of a regular store, meat can be frozen to make it last longer
- If you like tofu, it is a great source of protein and is under two dollars per container. Since it really doesn’t have flavor in it’s own, it’s also very versatile and can be dressed up or down.
- Don’t forget about legumes- beans and lentils are a great source of protein and cost almost nothing
- Shop based what’s on sale. Check the weekly fliers for what’s on sale and base meals off of what you find.
- Eggs are also one of the best sources of protein. Not only are they inexpensive, but you can also make them tons of different ways!
Snacks and Treats
Of course you need more than just the basics. I’ve found that the best place to go for snacks is Trader Joe’s. They have all the chips, crackers and treats you could want at very reasonable prices.

Other Useful Tips
- Never shop hungry- you’re more prone to buying things you don’t need.
- Plan what you’re going to buy in advance- as tiring as this advice is.
- Check your local junk mail fliers for coupons and store sales- often times, the grocery store also posts weekly deals on their websites
- Buy items that are useful in more than one meal- for example, if you’re buying tortillas for quesadillas or tacos, use them the next morning with scrambled eggs for a breakfast burrito.

Shopping and eating well on a college budget sometimes feels overwhelming and impossible. With planning and shopping around, though, it is easy to eat decent food that stays within budget!

USF Spends $138 Thousand for Fall Fest: Jay Sean and New Boyz headline much anticipated concert

Four music artists put on a notable show at the Fall Fest Concert last Saturday, Oct. 23. Behind the scenes, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) was running a different kind of show—making the event come together after months of planning.

According to the proposed bud- get for FY 2010-11, CAB set aside $60,000 to headline Jay Sean and the New Boyz, and reserved $5,000 for opening acts The Cataracs and Rockit Scientists.

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Jay Sean performs (Cass Krughoff/Foghorn)

The entire concert was estimated at $138 thousand, which covered costs for publicity, catering (for con- cert artists), security, equipment rent- als and the facility rental. ASUSF Senate approved the budget alloca- tions based on the funds received from activity fees.

Patrick Sudlow, the concert director for CAB, said that he proposed concert artists to USF’s middle agent, Event Resources Presents, Inc., in April while studying abroad in Argentina. Event Resources Presents, Inc. is an arts management consultant firm.

Sudlow worked with Jolene Chavalier, who handles the firm’s college buying. “We go back and forth until we find an artist that fits our budget, the genre that students voted for, and the social justice climate we have on campus,” Sudlow said. Chevalier has worked on the last three concerts with CAB.

CAB recruited about 35 volunteers to help with the concert. Volunteers received benefits, such as free admission and meeting the concert artists.

Ten of the volunteers were part of the hospitality team, and were responsible for decorating the per- formers’ hospitality rooms (a room that accommodates the artists with their needs).

CAB worked with the artists’ riders to verify any specific requests. “The rider basically has all the demands from the artists,” Sudlow said, “They are very generic on some things, some are very specific. We like when they’re specific because then we don’t have to buy a bunch of things. When they say gum and mints, then we have to buy a lot of gum and mints because then we don’t know what kind they like.”

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Niles “Cyrano” Hollowell-Dhar of The Cataracs puts on a show to be remembered at USF’s 2010 Fall Fest Concert (Cass Krughoff/Foghorn)

Kelsey Jones was the head volunteer on the hospitality team. Among Jay Sean’s requests were an ironing board and hangers, as well as an iPod dock. Aside from this, though, “it’s mostly food,” Jones said.

The hospitality team spent about 16 hours decorating the three rooms from Friday evening to Saturday af- ternoon (with a break in-between). The end resulted in a transformation of the Bill Russell Room and

Memorial Gym locker rooms into a back- stage area with couches covered in black linen, tables set up with drinks and food platters, and gifts from the USF bookstore.

Jay Sean had the Bill Russell Room; the locker rooms went to the New Boyz and the opening acts.

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The New Boyz are applauded (Cass Krughoff/Foghorn)

Rick Gorbette, owner of Event Resources Presents, Inc., has seen many hospitality rooms from colleges that have hosted concerts. He rated CAB’s hospitality rooms at “top 5.”“Anything that the campus can do to be a good host,to be as cozy and welcoming [as possible], is what the dressing room and the catering is all about,” he said. From the artist’s perspective, “even if the sound is crappy or the turnout isn’t very good, your performers are going to put on a great show because they were treated right from the time they walked in through that door.”

General volunteer and sophomore Domonique Crosby said, “They’ve [the hospitality committee] done really good. I’ve seen the hospitality group running with their heads cut off to get this pulled off for us.”

Crosby said she applied to be a volunteer to experience the work that goes into the Fall Fest Concert. “I don’t feel like we’re rushing to do anything, which I think is really good. It shows the planning that went into it,” she said.

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USF Students Join the Fight to Save Cal Grants

On March 2, 2010 students from various colleges gathered at the state Capitol in Sacramento to address the proposed budget cuts to the Cal Grants financial aid program. Currently the state legislature is considering a budget proposal from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The budget proposal will significantly cut back on Cal Grants. The Cal Grant program provides various grant types and amounts to moderate-income students attending college.

The funding students receive from the Cal Grant program is determined by different factors. Some of these factors include student grades, family income levels, age, type of school, as well as the timing of their applications. Only about one third of students who apply for Cal Grant meet the criteria and receive funds.

According to the state, this proposed budget would essentially cut any new grants to community college students by 45% or about 18,500 students this upcoming fall. University of California students would also be affected, with about 700 eligible students denied a Cal Grant.

A breakdown of statistics shows that 2,000 students in the California State Universities, 1,200 students attending private institutions, and 3,000 students attending career colleges would be affected.

Toure Clark, a junior majoring in psychology at USF, attended the lobbying at the State’s Capitol. Clark is attending USF with no financial support from family and relies heavily on scholarships and grants, such as the Cal Grant.

Photo Courtesy of Norman Caito USF students Steffi Liem and Toure Clark pose with USF financial aid director Norman Caito in the State Capitol building in Sacramento.

Clark said he personally relies heavily on the Cal Grant to be able to attend USF. Clark was homeless for six years and has not financial assistance from family members, without government assistance such as the Cal Grant his dreams of becoming a graduate student would simply cease to exist.

The impacts of Cal Grant budget cuts will greatly affect many students at USF. There is somewhat of an underlying perception that at USF, students get their financial needs met by their parents. While this is sometimes true, there are also many students at USF who are receiving grants, financial aids, and scholarships in order to attend USF and get their college degrees.

USF is a current member of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU). AICCU organizes yearly a day for students to go to Sacramento and lobby for Cal Grant. This is an opportunity for not only students, but also administrators of colleges and universities in California a chance to lobby state legislators, giving them a voice to protect and stand for the funding rights for the Cal Grant program. The states legislators also take testimonial letters from people during the lobbying events. These letters are in hopes of persuading legislators to pass a bill or not.

Norman Caito Director of USF Financial Aid, works directly with students and had first hand participation with the lobbying event this past week. Norman Caito personally invited students to join him and other USF Financial Aid Administrators at USF to go to the State Capitol. Caito also asked student from USF to participate in writing testimonial letter to take to the legislators in Sacramento. Caito said, “I am hopeful that the senators and assembly we met with will read each one to get a better picture of how this important program has made a USF education possible for these students, how grateful they are to have the program available to them, and how they could be affected if they lost some or all of that resource.”

The truth of the matter is that without the Cal Grant program many students simply will not be able to attend college, especially expensive private universities such as USF. Cal Grant is an opportunity for students and helps many students yearly to attend colleges that would otherwise be out of their price range. Caito also expressed his deep concerns for the students that attend USF, and how he strongly feels that without Cal Grants, most students at USF would realistically not be able to attend USF.

Caito noted, “I think all students should be passionate about the right to seek affordable education, and should fight to keep doors open not only for themselves, but for those who come after them.”

Students, parents, teachers, administrations, and countless family members all came to lobby and speak to senators and assembly members to make a stand for what they felt was right. The outcome of the lobbying and protests has yet to be seen although for most that attended support from the legislators was recognized. Even though this support was seen, there is still no guarantee for keeping the Cal Grant funding at its current level.

Primary reasoning behind cutting the Cal Grant funding is due to the state’s financial trouble. According to State Senators and Assembly members, they are faced with two radical budget cuts. Either they take away funding from healthcare, or they make budget cuts from educational programs such as Cal Grant. With these two options it is clear that a decision is difficult and a solution is desperately needed. Even with this day of lobbying in Sacramento it will clearly take more than one day to really make concrete change.

For those that attended, some noted the experience as being an eye opener about the democratic process: the ability to go to the State’s Capitol to address Senators and Assembly members is a way for Americans to have their opinions and voices heard, in the hopes of changes.

Legislators stated  statistics that resonated in the thoughts of many during this event. Clark said that one comment really hit home for him, and opened his eyes towards what Cal Grant really means for many. He said, “One of the senators said, every time that $1 is put into Cal Grant, the state gets $3 they have invested.” This statistic really exemplified to him the importance of education for the future.

Due to the tremendous number of people that attended this event and spoke out against Cal Grant budget cuts, it is clearly seen college campuses across the state are ready to actively speak out for their education.

In order to reach educational goals, numerous amounts of students rely on Cal Grant funding among other supportive methods to pay for college. Despite the current recession and state budget crisis, many believe education should remain a top priority. USF students and staff are just a few of the many fighting for that belief.

Budget Flexi, Drink From the Tap

Midterms are coming to an end and half of the semester is complete. Students who live on campus and use Flexi should have about $900 left according to a week by week budget created by Jon Torres, senior cafe manager of Bon Appetit.  For the week beginning on October 27th, students should have $896.55 remaining. By purchasing meals for friends and making impulse buys, some students run through their Flexi points quickly. The meal plan for on-campus students is $1,905 each semester.  Torres and Holly Winslow, manager of Bon Appetit, have worked to create bail out specials, which feature a daily $1 special food item, such as pizza and soup.

To budget Flexi, Winslow suggested decreasing impulse purchases and also limiting the consumption of boutique bottled water, like Dasani and Evian. She said that the tap water available in the cafeteria is from Hetch Hetchy, a water reservoir near Yosemite National Park, which is “pure and free.”  Winslow said, “I would much rather see students using their own (reusable) water bottles.” Purchasing bottled water “has a tendency to drive the check up,” she said.

USF students typically make about five trips through the cafeteria each day. Winslow said that these fly by trips and spontaneous buys can also eat away at Flexi points. She cautioned, “Be aware of how many times you are walking through.”

While the current meal plan does provide for three hot meals a day, replacing scrambled eggs and tater tots with a bagel could help students conserve Flexi.

Sophomores Morgan Harper and Jenae Lozada both have about $900 left. Harper isn’t concerned with running out of Flexi, she said, “ I can estimate it because I don’t eat here on the weekends.”  Lozada said, “I eat out too. I get sick of the cafeteria food.”  Sophomore Quin Herron has a $634 balance and is being a bit more careful about his spending than at the beginning of the semester. For those concerned about running out of Flexi points, Winslow said that last year she made her phone number available to students to discuss their low balances. She met with ten students, five of whom began working for Bon Appetit. Bon Appetit offers student workers Flexi and complimentary employee meals as additional benefits. Winslow said, “Before students revert to inappropriate behavior, (they should) come talk to Jon or myself. We will always help the students.”

Letter to Senate: Student concerned over “abuse of power” by student governing board

Dear USF Senate:

I feel obligated to voice strong objections to your most recent abuse of power.

I find it unethical and disreputable that the Finance Committee/Senate has repeatedly defended this preliminary budget proposal vis-a-vis other universities who also give salaries to their student governing board.

Using external salary comparisons as a means to plead your case is absurd due to the innumerable differences between our Senate and other universities.

Additionally, you do not have the authority to simultaneously aquit yourselves of responsibility for this poor decision, which Ms. Platt attempts to do in her response via the online Foghorn forum.

Obviously, external financial situations are beginning to strain many areas within the university, but the Committee’s recent proposal is a clear abuse of our money and of our time.

I doubt I need to enumerate the various clubs and organizations that will be negatively affected by this decision, since all of them will, by default.

This obviously is not an issue of which organizations work more diligently than others, or for what reasons only 2 of the 12 funded clubs actually appealed this proposal, rather it is an issue regarding the economic power that the Senate via the Finance Committee has on campus and your erroneous assumption that this proposal actually represents the needs of all our students.

Is the Senate really that out of touch with the reality of clubs and organizations on campus, that this proposal has even reached the stage of voting?

That you are so ready to cut such necessary funds to vital on-campus clubs, without so much as the batting of your eyelid?

I can’t think of anything more indicative of Senate’s attitude towards student clubs and organizations than this proposal, which terrifies me.

Regardless which funded/non-funded accounts actually joined the Finance Committee, the reality is that the obligation for egalitarian representation for all clubs/organizations lies directly in the hands of the Senate (who obviously are deeply entrenched within the Finance Committee).

It is the responsibility of Senate to understand the needs of its clubs, and to appropriately respond to such demands, instead of clubs having to constantly plead their case to Senate.

Yes, you have a tremendous amount of responsibility to many people, which can be overwhelming, but students shouldn’t have to wonder whether their elected governing board is going to suddenly pull the rug out from under them at any given moment.

I think students, therefore, have the obligation to call each other out, especially when this decision affects the struggling clubs and organizations on campus that are vulnerable to this sort of exploitation.

Or at least value honesty as a legitimate criteria when explaining why you decided to employ a “top- down” policy to keep your own salaries intact.

I just hope that the Senate/Finance Committee is willing to pursue an open authentic dialogue throughout the next several weeks before the May 5th vote.

Further, I hope that the remaining clubs who have not appealed this proposal do so immediately, since this decision will establish a precedent for future USF student clubs and the relationship between Senate and its students.

Cate Maxon