Opportunity Fund just a case of trickery
The Colorado Opportunity Fund. Student stipend. We’ve all heard of it. For struggling college students like you and me, COF is a gift – yet another example of the government’s overwhelming generosity and benevolence for in-state students.
But is it? Take a closer look.
If you delve deeper, beyond the deceptive appearance of “free money,” you will see that the government has once again found a creative way of swindling money out of our own pockets, a practice at which it is quite adept.
Everyone knows that you have to jump through some hoops in order to access the COF stipend money.
Before you go to college, you need to apply for the funds online. Then, you must authorize the funds to be used for the school of your choice at the beginning of each semester. As CU students know, it can be a bit of a hassle.
Yet even after all of this hassle, it is admittedly satisfying to sit back and look at the COF deduction on our tuition bills. It comes as a pleasant surprise to see that deduction at the bottom of the page when we pay our bills online. This is money that didn’t require us to fill out long and excruciating scholarship applications – therefore it’s free!
Although COF seems like a great plan for everyone involved, it has forced universities to raise their tuition in response to limited funding from the state. The state cut funds that used to go directly to universities and instead gave the money to students so that we can authorize the state to fund CU.
The money that is now the COF stipend used to be automatically deducted from a university’s tuition bill. Tuition at universities like CU was lower before COF came along and reared its ugly head.
The state of Colorado has stripped its universities of the money that made lower tuition bills possible. Students are now forced to instead apply in order to have the stipend deducted from those daunting tuition bills.
We’re being duped.
Sure, it sounds great when we authorize the use of those funds and see our tuition bill decreased with just the click of a mouse, but wouldn’t it be easier for you and me if we simply had smaller tuition payments to make?
We’re still paying the same amount of money, just in a roundabout way.
This roundabout way sure seems like a great way of wasting money for a state that so desperately needs to be supporting its poorly funded universities.
Think of the paperwork, the office space and the salaries of people who make COF happen. It can be expensive simply operating and maintaining the program. This is all money that could be easily diverted back into university funding with the elimination of COF.
The state government has found a creative way of using students as pawns in their game of budgetary deception. Instead of giving money directly to universities so that they can reduce our tuition bills, the state gives us the money.
Does this sound like a good thing? Sure it does – more money for us to spend on our college experience, right?
Nope. Wrong again.
This money is not deposited neatly into our checking accounts so that we can spend it as we wish, whether it be on books, housing or student fees. Rather, we are merely authorizing the state to pay CU the money that it used to pay CU directly.
The state is using us as a self-serving illustration of how it supports higher education funding. It props us up on a pedestal along with COF and shines the attention on us while it continues to slash university funding behind our backs.
In an age of rising college costs it is clear that COF has not made any notable difference. I am not seeing any decrease in my overall college costs.
Despite all of its shortcomings, however, COF does succeed in one regard: it once again leaves students and universities scrabbling for money.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Katherine Spencer at Katherine.email@example.com