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.

October 2008 Open Houses, $6000 in Scholarships

Daytona State College is holding 6 open houses this month: 1 at each campus. All of them are 2 hours, from 5-7 P.M. The first one is this evening at the Flagler / Palm Coast campus.

There will be some kind of food and drinks. The dates and locations were announced here. Here’s a copy of that list:

Tuesday, Oct. 7
Flagler/Palm Coast Campus
Bldg. 2, Rm. 106
3000 Palm Coast Parkway S.E., Palm Coast

Thursday, Oct. 9
New Smyrna Beach-Edgewater Campus
Bldg. 2, Rm. 109
940 10th Street, New Smyrna Beach

Tuesday, Oct. 14
DeLand Campus
Bldg. 7
1155 County Road 4139, DeLand

Thursday, Oct. 16
Deltona Campus
Fathi Hall
2351 Providence Blvd., Deltona

Tuesday, Oct. 21
Advanced Technology College
Atrium
1770 Technology Blvd., Daytona Beach

Thursday, Oct. 23
Daytona Beach Campus
The Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality Management (Bldg. 1200)
1200 W. Int’l Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is the last campus to hold the open house, which is 16 days off. I haven’t been to building 1200; it must be quite nice.

The DSC Foundation will be giving away $6000 in scholarships; $500 to 2 students at each open house. The drawing will be random. That sounds like incentive enough to go.

I remember the spring open house from 2007… they had this loud band playing music. You couldn’t talk to anyone. There were recruiters and course specialists there, but they didn’t seem to know much and I couldn’t hear what they were saying anyway. Then they showed this film on a projector and the projector was messed up so the film looked all white unless you were right in front of the screen. It wasn’t much fun.

I hope they do better this time. Unfortunately, I won’t be covering photography or attending because Thursday the 23rd is tied up for me. But good luck to everyone who has time for this. 🙂

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.

Sincerely,
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.

Sincerely,
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.

Florida Academic Scholars bonus raised to $375

I just got this email from osfa@fldoe.org, the Florida Department of Education:

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.

Sincerely,

Office of Student Financial Assistance

The Academic Scholars award is the top tier of the Florida BrightFutures scholarships. If you get this award like I do, you know last semester it was dropped to $225 from $300, so it’s good to see it going back up, with an extra $75. This is in addition to tuition.

My books were $348 this semester, so $375 more than covers it. Yes!

My Daytona State College education has been going well, keeping me busy though. I have a Physics test and a speech on the early history of photography on Monday. I’m going to film the latter and post it here after. Now, back to studying. 😎

I’m a Loser, Says Daytona State College

This lovely letter turned up in my mailbox:

Scholarship loser 2008-08-01

Here’s the text, for those of you who can’t read JPEGs:

August 1, 2008

Richard Thripp
1829 NELSON AVE
ORMOND BEACH FL 0

Dear     Richard:

Thank you for your on-line application and interest in the DSC Foundation Donor Scholarship opportunity for the fall 2008 semester. Regretfully, you were not chosen to receive an award at this time.

However, the next scholarship cycle for the spring 2009 semester will begin on August 25, 2008. You are encouraged to apply again. Please refer to the scholarship website: dsc.scholarships.nelnet.net for additional information.

If you have any questions concerning this matter or need further directions for applying for scholarships on-line, please contact me at (386) 506-4422 or Bernadette Ramsey (386) 506-3013.

I wish you much success as you continue your academic and career endeavors!

Sincerely,

Charlene Solomon

Charlene Solomon
Financial Aid Services/Scholarships

Darn it. I was really expecting to win another $1500 scholarship. I won $3000 in scholarships from the foundation in fall 2007 and spring 2008, but the last was revoked because I couldn’t receive two at once. I only found at way after receiving my award letter, of course.

You know why I didn’t win? It’s because of that B+ in photography. My GPA slipped from 4.0 to 3.95. That killed my chances.

It’s amazing what Daytona State College spends on postage. What could easily be communicated by phone or email gets a 42 cent letter, not to mention the printing and labeling costs. If 1000 students entered (the Daytona Beach campus alone has 8500 students), they wasted $700 easily. And they do stuff like this all the time. We still get mail for my mother from DSC, and she hasn’t gone there for 13 years. Heck, she hasn’t even lived in the state of Florida for 10 years.

I love the format of the letter. It reads like a Dear John letter. “You were not chosen at this time.” As if that’s going to change later. The encouragement. The wish of success. The letter that informs you of your lack of success wishes you success.

The hyphenation of “on-line” is just too cool. It’s so 1994. How come Charlene’s name is typed twice? I’d expect one of those to be a facsimile signature. Why does “Dear Richard” have a big space between the wods? Why is my zip code 0? Really, it’s on the envelope like that.

Okay, I’ve done enough complaining. I had to pay $143 out-of-pocket because, despite having BrightFuture’s Academic Scholars award, only $157 was allotted for books. It used to be $300, but recently became $225, and was even less for me because of lab fees and tuition hikes. My books were $301. 5800 pages. Here’s what they’re looking like:

My fall 2008 textbooks

See the measly paperback, Between One and Many? That’s for my speech class (SPC2600). It’s among the most expensive at $50. Even the University Physics one was cheaper ($48). I got the international versions for biology and physics. They say “not for sale or use in the U.S.A. or Canada,” but they’re cheaper and exactly the same. Buying these from the DSC bookstore would be $600+.