Letter to Daily Wildcat smacks of bourgeois arrogance
I found this letter by Mary Coleman to the Arizona Daily Wildcat a refreshing reminder of how willfully ignorant the rich can be toward the plights of the less-fortunate. Coleman starts her letter with “As many of us are familiar with FAFSA, many, on the other hand, are not.” Along with her proud claim that she is “not receiving anything at all from this so-called ‘aid,'” Coleman is clearly in the latter category, or her little rant wouldn’t be so misleading.
For what it’s worth, I’m a full-time, in-state student who relies on FAFSA aid for every cent of what I pay to attend school here, and I can assure you that I and others like me do not spend our aid money on “strip clubs, beer…getting manicures, and buying unnecessary things.” Why? Because there’s not enough money in our aid packages to afford those kind of deals! There’s barely enough money to cover the expenses of tuition and books on the Pell Grant these days. The only way you’d have a meaningful sum of money left after those big expenses is if you:
- Have a personal college savings fund. Obviously, no taxpayer contributes to this but you and your relatives.
- Have scholarships, which are usually voluntary contributions by private entities to scholarship funds held by the UA Foundation. I know, because I log and process at least ten of these every week at my Work-Study job.
- Speaking of Work-Study jobs, it may be taxpayer money, but it’s still my time and energy that goes into earning those funds, and I’ll spend my hard-earned check however I damn well please, thank you.
- Get a tuition waiver for academic performance in high school (aka Wildcat Excellence). These are important for maintaining what little prestige the UA can still claim in its undergraduate student body.
- Take out a loan package. Contrary to Coleman’s ignorant statements, Stafford and Perkins loans are NOT taxpayer-funded. They are only insured by the federal government against default by the borrower or abuse by the lender. (By the way, you ever notice that wealthy conservatives use the term “taxpayer” as an insinuation that the poor who benefit from government services don’t pay taxes? Maybe they ought to get a good look at my mother’s check stubs.)
The woman also claims that “shopping for clothes” is somehow a wrong way to spend taxpayer money. Why? If I recall correctly, clothes are right next to nutrition and shelter as absolute necessities for humans to subsist in civilized society. If my wardrobe falls apart, and all I’ve got is financial aid to pay for some replacements, I’m certainly not going to strut into class half-nude or wear the same clothes for days at a time to save Uncle Sam some money.
I’ve seen a lot of stupid, backwards shit sent from Wildcat readers to the editor. While most of it makes me chuckle, this right here just made me mad because it indicates just how little wealthy twits like Mary Coleman think of folks like me, my fiancee, and every other less-off student who has dreamed of a college education. With misinformation like hers being touted as fact, it’s no surprise that factions hellbent on regressing the American economy to the bad old days of the 1920s are gaining ground.