Editorial: Empty pockets fuel broken promises

By now, students should be feeling the emptiness in their pockets, pulling out nothing more than bits of lint and gum wrappers where money was once abundant.

These things happen. College students are no strangers to being broke. We’ve all been there, done that. But, with the state’s most recent declaration of budget cuts, where will students stand if their institutions can’t afford to teach them?

Governor Mary Fallen recently revealed her budget plans for the state of Oklahoma during an Oklahoma Press Association conference, and then again during the State of the State Address.

Fallen, whom is still trying to gain confidence and support from the Oklahoma public, declared her plan to cut the higher education budget 3% this year. This comes as a shocking blow after a 3.5% cut in 2010, and similar cuts in 2009 and 2008.

So what does this mean for Oklahoma students? Colleges who cannot make up the funds themselves will turn toward tuition and fees charged to students, raising them to make up for any loss.

Sections of colleges could see an even worse fate, being cut down staff wise, until there is no reason to have a staff at all. Consolidation will be key to saving money during this higher education crisis.

Worse of all, some students are already feeling the budget blow in their studies. It ‘s known that at least one class on campus was unable to start their course work for two weeks this semester.

Because the classroom software has not been updated, the students were required to purchase the older textbooks. These textbooks could not be found by the campus bookstore because the publisher stopped creating a text used for a software program not in general use anymore.

After two weeks, many questions, and countless calls, this lecture was able to begin. But, one student was unsure why this happened in the first place.

According to the student, the college owes her $23.92 for missing four lecture sessions in the two weeks that it took to acquire the correct books in our bookstore. “It’s not Radcliff’s fault and it’s not the publishers fault,” she said. “It’s our administrations fault for not providing the students with up-to-date learning resources.”

“And it’s our state government’s fault for not providing the adequate funds to higher education. Without proper education, graduates will not be able to become a prime candidate for jobs in their futures.”

This student’s words personify what many students worry about daily: “Will I be able to get a job after graduation?”

Of all the things that should be taken care of, the government’s first thoughts should be with students. If our students cannot be trained in their institutions, and then are thrown to the working-world wolves, where do the priorities of our institutional leaders lie? Who – if not the governing bodies we trust – will provide for us, guide us and watch over us?

In an age where fast food restaurants refuse to hire applicants not holding at least a high school diploma, how will the future stock brokers, health care physicians and instructors fare in a world that regards education in the highest, but will do nothing to provide that education to the people?

It’s time to take your hands out of your empty pockets, students, and put them out for collections. You’re future is at stake, and your money is non-existent.

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