Fall 2010 Award Disbursement

Daytona State College began disbursing scholarship refunds to the debit cards of college students yesterday, Sept. 24, 2010. If you don’t receive yours in the next two weeks, make sure to contact the office of student accounts.

Even students without scholarship or academic merit can receive a refund. The federal Pell provides most students with $694 per 3-credit class, and with Daytona State’s tuition costing $375 per class or less, this will result in windfalls of hundreds or thousands of dollars per semester for many students.

For a program that is completely unconstitutional, the Pell grant consumes a large portion of the Federal budget. While it cost a mere $16 billion dollars in 2008-2009, for the 2009-2010 school year the cost was $25.4 billion, and thanks to Obama, it is projected to cost $27.5 billion this fiscal year, granting an average of $3000 to over 8 million students. This wealth redistribution scheme is great news for students but bad news for job-seekers and the economy (an AA degree is becoming as common as dirt).

Note that if one of your parents died serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, you should receive a $2750 Pell grant this semester and next regardless of your eligibility or course load. Even though you are grieving, make sure you get your deserved award. If both your parents died in the line of duty, ask for even more money.

Correction: Florida Academic Scholars bonus reduced to $187.50

Jason alerted me that the email I got from the FL department of education means $375 for the whole school year, which is two semesters. So each semester the bonus is actually reduced from $225 to $187.50. This is after being reduced from $300 to $225 in the spring of 2008, when the Medallion award was raised from 75% to 100% for community and state colleges.

I was fooled by the email, because it reminded me of this similar email from 2007 November 27:

Dear Mr. Thripp:

Effective January 1, 2008, the Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) maximum allowance for college-related expenses will be reduced from $300 to $225 for the second half of the 2007-08 academic year, prorated by term and hours.

As a result of the state budget shortfall for the 2007-08 fiscal year, many academic year program budgets were reduced during the Special Legislative Session 2007C. Senate Bill 10C was signed into law which amended the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program by reducing the 2007-08 FAS college-related expense allowance and providing for future academic years amounts of the FAS allowance to be specified annually in the General Appropriations Act.

If you have further questions, please contact the Bright Futures office toll-free at 1-888-827-2004.

Office of Student Financial Assistance

And this is the email from 2008 September 12:

Dear Mr. Thripp:

The 2008-09 Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) college-related expense allowance that is specified annually by the Florida Legislature in the General Appropriations Act will be $375 for the 2008-09 academic year, prorated by terms and hours.

If you have further questions, please contact the Bright Futures office toll-free at 1-888-827-2004.

Office of Student Financial Assistance

Obviously it should be worded more clearly. They got it right on the BrightFutures website, where it says:

The annual college related expense allowance for Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) will be $375 to be divided equally between terms.

Why couldn’t they put that in big red letters in the email? Perhaps it’s because they wanted to be misleading.

The BrightFutures Academic Scholars award was supposed to pay for everything. That was the original intention, hence the $300 allowance. Books are not getting cheaper. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that my books are awfully expensive this semester (the total came to $348). The state legislature has simply decided that we should be able to pay a portion of our books ourselves. For me, that portion is $160.50.

Perhaps if the legislature didn’t spend so much money giving 100% funding to the students who scored lowly on the ACT / SAT, they’d have more funds to reward the students who scored highly. I don’t know about you, but it was really important for me to get 28 of 36 on my ACT test for the 100% funding and $300 / semester bonus. My family is neither rich nor college-educated. I barely got in with a composite score of 28, which is in the top 8%. The Medallion award requires 20 of 36, which is merely in the top 53%.

I also did 75 hours of community service at the local library to earn my higher award. But now, it’s pretty much the same as the lower award, plus $187.50 per semester. If you couldn’t get 28 of 36, it’s great, but if you struggled to make it or even re-took the ACT to get 28 for the Academic Scholars award, it doesn’t feel so good.

The Florida BrightFutures scholarship program rewards mediocrity while ignoring academic excellence.

The Spring 2008 Awards

I was happy to cover photography for the college’s spring awards ceremony on April 16. Some of the highlights:

Kent Sharples hands out awards

Kent Sharples, the DSC president, preparing to hand out one of many awards.

DSC faculty applauds

An applauding faculty member in the audience.

The QUANTA gang

The QUANTA gang says hello. QUANTA is a community for a collection of core subjects at building 300 in the fall and spring at the college; it’s one of the premier learning communities in academia. I had a lot of fun studying and making friends their over the 2007-2008 year, and recommend it to any prospective students. Read my story here. A great book we traditionally read at the end of the spring semester is Seven Life Lessons of Chaos. Brilliant stuff; you won’t find this level of reflection and personal development in any normal class. Their motto is “don’t think either/or—think both and,” which is a welcome departure from the typical rigid mindset you find in the classroom.

It’s funny looking back, because Kent was so happy to announce that he knew the name Daytona Beach College was about to be approved, and already it’s Daytona State College.

I shot all these on black and white 35mm film, but am looking forward to shooting the next ceremony with my excellent Canon Rebel XTi and EF 50mm 1:1.4 lens. No one is camera-shy at the college, likely because of the prestigious photography presence. Unfortunately a lot of the photography department’s links are broken at the moment, but there’s some good info on that page.