Academic adviser says higher education should be free.
By Sergio Medina
Hardworking students with high GPAs should receive incentives such as lower tuition, four international students said in an interview Feb. 12.
The feedback came after learning of Alamo Promise, a program that will cover tuition for incoming high school seniors in fall 2020.
To qualify, students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0. Tuition not covered by federal aid will be paid for by the “last-dollar scholarship.”
Business freshman Anne Tabart said she was surprised at the few requirements needed for Promise.
“I just find that, maybe, a bit unfair,” she said. “For example, a student who has a 3.0 and doesn’t have any aid because, I don’t know, his parents have money or whatever — if I was this student, ‘I am American, I have good grades and I don’t get anything?’ I just find that a bit unfair.”
Environmental science freshman Caterina Beverati said the idea behind Promise can encourage more students to get a higher-education degree, dispelling financial or self-confidence worries.
“But at the same time, I’d say they should also do something for the students that are good — good GPA or something like that,” she said.
Business administration freshman Gustavo Gonzalez said, “I think it would benefit it more if, for the students that have a higher GPA and are doing good, for them to get more like a room or something so they don’t have to pay for, you know, housing or food or, you know, stuff like that.”
He said Promise overlooks students who do not file FAFSA.
“I kind of feel like if you have to enroll in FAFSA, that’s kind of screwing a lot of people over because not everyone can do FAFSA — I can’t do FAFSA,” he said. “It’s kind of like they’re trying to do something good for the community, but at the same time, they’re kind of throwing this thing in the middle — kind of like a blockade.”
Tabart said it’s more beneficial to encourage people who are already in.
Cybersecurity freshman Bruno Bogado said outstanding students should be charged less tuition at their university of choice when transferring.
“If they have a higher GPA, or they’re doing way better than the average student, then you should at least consider giving them a discount at another university,” he said. “A scholarship, definitely something that will help them out.”
Academic adviser Fidel Bém said higher education should be free for all.
“We are supposedly in a developed nation, first-world country, and we are asking — I’m not even talking about international students — we’re asking the citizens of this country to take out loans to get what should be a right — an education, a basic education,” Bém said. “K through 12 is not a basic education in this day and age. Even a bachelor’s degree is a basic education.
“That is why things like Alamo Promise are wonderful. They’re aspirational, but it shouldn’t even need to exist,” he added. “Every student that comes here should have the ability to go to school and not have to worry about how much debt they’re going to be in, whether you’re in-district, out-of-district or out-of-country. In a democracy, an educated population is an expectation of a democracy.”