by Sofya Korneeva
The excitement of the application period, the thrill of the first day in college, the joy that approximately 250 students might not experience next fall, is what could possibly happen when the biggest students’ reward program, “New Jersey STARS”, might be affected by the governor’s budget cuts.
High school graduates of 2010, who worked hard to earn the reward, whose parents believe that their children deserve to go to college, are put under stress in expectation of the final decision. In Governor’s proposal, students, who are already enrolled in colleges as participants of the NJ STARS program, would retain their status and might even get a “raise” added to their scholarships. But all this will only happen if the students of the next semester are not getting any help and the program is cancelled. “For students I think it would be a problem especially if they have not applied anywhere else and rely on that money” said Sharon Wedington, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at Camden County College.
Camden County College along with other community colleges of New Jersey has a proposal of their own. By cutting the scholarship money by $250 per student, it could help the class of 2010 enroll in the fall. This issue was also briefly discussed at the Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting. The members of the Board came alive when the conversation turned to the budget cuts topic. Their main concern is that serious educational budget cuts will lead the state to much more serious problems. “They are taking away the education money that may probably at some point lead to higher crime after which they will go to prison and we will spend $ 40.000 a year per prisoner” said Sandee G. Vogelson.
But even if the program is saved for the next academic year, the future of it still remains unpredictable. “Some people believe, once you lose something you won’t get it back”, concluded Wedington a little upset, but she is confident that with the help of students they will be able to save the program. On April 24th Camden County College is going to have an open house with a PC set up, so that anyone who wants to sign up and send a letter to legislators will do so. The basic letter is available on the NJ Council of County Colleges website.
In the photo: Louis S. Bezich, CCC vice president for administrative services and President Raymond Yannuzzi.