Tag Archives: Scholarships

Pell Grants Under Threat of Being Cut

In this age of fiscal uncertainty, few are immune from the government’s growing commitment to fiscal restraint. USF students could be hit next if Pell grants get cut. The federal debt-reduction committee tasked with locating $1.2 trillion in cuts and possible revenue increases to the federal budget over the next decade may shrink the government assistance program that has served as a vital source of financial aid for many at USF. The need based grants can total up to $5,550 per semester, and in assisting almost 30% of USF students with their tuition costs, it is the largest source of financial assistance for USF students.
To inform students of the potential danger to the program, Provost and Vice President of Academic affairs Jennifer Turpin sent an email out two weeks ago asking supporters to sign a petition to block any cuts to the program. The petition is being supported by lobbying organizations such as the Student Aid Alliance, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and 61 other higher education associations. The petition has drawn 48,661 supporters as of Saturday.
Asked what he thought of the possible cuts, USF Junior Raffi Bezdikian said it was unfortunate that the U.S. government would “rather drop bombs on people … than invest in our future by educating the public.”
It is unclear how much of an effect such efforts will have in swaying the committee in favor of a particular outcome. Various advocacy organizations have undertaken assiduous campaigns to influence the committee’s outcome with little success. From its conception, the committee’s proceedings have held behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny.
Legislators have attempted to exert their influence as well. Last month, Minnesota Representative John Kline made his case for cuts to Pell grants, which he described as “on a path to bankruptcy.” Kline then went on to back the Labor, Health and Human Services budget cutting bill passed by House Republicans.
That bill would decrease the Pell Grant eligibility period from 9 to 6 years. It would also eliminate eligibility for students who attend school part-time. The changes are projected to produce almost $3.6 billion in savings to the national budget.
In last year’s debt-ceiling budget agreement, the federal government promised $7 billion in additional appropriations for the program, an amount that according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid administrators still won’t make up for a $1.3 billion shortfall in 2012-13.
Democrats have long protected the program instituted under President Lyndon Johnson’s as part of his Great Society initiative, but their priority may now be focused on protecting costly entitlement programs that have come under increasing attack from Republicans.
Many have predicted that the negotiations will end in a deadlock, as most recent budget battles have. More than a few of the committee’s members are staunch advocates of their party’s most recalcitrant positions, making meaningful compromise unlikely. Any such deal would require substantial concessions on either side of the aisle.
Financial aid is available to USF students in other forms besides Pell grants, including school funded scholarships and grants from the state.
Even so, “student aid has already lost $30 billion paying down the deficit in prior Reconciliation bills and the Budget Control Act,” cited Ms. Turpin in her letter.
The fiscal solvency of the state is also in question, imperiling some of the state’s programs like Cal Grants.
If the super committee fails to find $1.2 trillion on cuts, automatic cuts of $600 billion to both defense and entitlement spending would kick in, possibly exempting the financial aid program.

USF Honors 1951 Dons Football Team, Awards Scholarships to Athletes

10.20.11 Foghorn 7

On October 8, University of San Francisco and the USF Athletic Department honored the members of the 1951 Dons football team. This team went “undefeated, untied and uninvited” after they denied an invitation to the Orange Bowl under the conditions that they left their African American players at home. In attendance at the ceremonial brunch were legendary players Bill Henneberry, Ralph Thomas, Bob St. Clair, Joe Scudero and Dick Colombini (pictured below with coach Rex Walters).

St. Clair was just one of the teammates to go on to have a professional football career with the 49ers and was also inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Both Bob St. Clair and Bill Henneberry gave speeches about their memories from the team and what they stood for.

The event also featured presentations of three scholarships awarded to USF student athletes. Meritt Peterson (women’s soccer) and Cody Doolin (men’s basketball) received the Coach Joe Kuharich Scholarship, named after the legendary coach of the 1951 Dons.

Perris Blackwell, another men’s basketball player, received the Father “Jim” Giambastiani Scholarship.

ROTC Students Deserve More Visibility On Campus

Most University of San Francisco students have seen members of the ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program in uniform participating in physical training on the lawn in front of Gleeson Library, but few students know what exactly ROTC is and how it operates in the USF community. Students walk past the Underhill Building at the foot of Lone Mountain, but rarely realize the significance the small structure has for many cadets in the United States Military. At a Foghorn meeting, many of us, editors and staff members, realized that we are relatively ignorant about what exactly the ROTC program is and what it does for our peers. Thus, we investigated, met with ROTC’s main correspondent Captain Daniel Meany, and concluded that ROTC deserves much more visibility at USF and attention from the Foghorn.

Captain Meany estimates that the ROTC program includes about 80 students, many of which also attend USF, although the program includes students from other institutions in the Bay Area (USF is one of very few institutes of higher education in the Bay Area with an ROTC program). These students, referred to as “cadets” by their commanding officers, come from departments across the university, from business and arts to nursing and hard sciences. Members of the ROTC program are considered part of the “Don’s Battalion,” the all-encompassing term for soldiers in training.  When asked what inspires students to join ROTC, Captain Meany explained it simply: “Most students who enroll in ROTC want to serve their country.” Scholarships are also important for the Don’s Battalion- Captain Meany explains that many cadets are sponsored by scholarship programs in exchange for their commitment to the armed forces.

Upon graduation from USF, ROTC students are classified as 2nd Lieutenants, a rank that could put them in charge of a platoon of approximately 20 soldiers. The ROTC program does not often follow up with their graduates, so an estimation of former students currently in Iraq or Afghanistan is not easily found. The Foghorn was specifically curious about the kind of relationship between ROTC and the greater USF community, considering USF’s reputation as a liberal arts school and its location in San Francisco where, in 2006, the Board of Education voted to ban Junior ROTC programs in the city’s high schools. Captain Meany, however, assured the Foghorn that “the University of San Francisco has been tremendously supportive of (the ROTC) program.” The fact that ROTC has existed at USF for so long without ever having a major conflict with the city or administration demonstrates the value USF and the Dons Battalion place on collaboration.

Although ROTC students are a minority on campus, they may play a crucial role in future global affairs. The 2nd Lieutenants from USF will not only go to war to fight an enemy, they may also lead peace keeping missions in countries that USF’s social justice programs are deeply invested in.

Politics aside, ROTC students deserve more attention on campus and the Foghorn plans to make a concerted effort to increase ROTC recognition.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron