District should provide aid to current students

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The requirements for receiving free college tuition should be more strict.

The Fresh Start program will allow former students with financial holds less than $500 to re-enroll in the Alamo Colleges starting next fall.

According to previous Ranger reporting, all students have to do is enroll in at least six credit hours and their previously unpaid balances will be covered by the district in the form of a scholarship.

This is the second of two programs aimed at providing aid to students who are not attending school in this district, while enrolled students are receiving no benefits for their hard work and commitment to the Alamo Colleges.   

The first program tailored to non-Alamo Colleges students is called the Alamo Promise program.

It commits to covering all tuition costs for high school seniors graduating in fall 2020 — so long as they apply for financial aid and graduate with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

The district should focus more on its current students when it comes to providing financial aid.

The district should reward hardworking students who are already in the system and enable them to graduate with the ease of not having to pay for their last couple of classes.

It is the students who are currently enrolled that make the Alamo Colleges what it is today and it will be future students who determine the face of the district then.

According to the district website, there are currently 98,774 students enrolled in the district, but only 12,756 of those students were awarded degrees in the 2017-18 academic year.

Does attracting younger students with low GPAs and older students who haven’t attended college in over a decade really help the district?

In terms of immediate enrollment numbers, it does.

But what about graduation rates two years in the future?

Students with limited college experience most likely won’t graduate on time because they are ill-prepared for college in the first place.

Faculty will likely have to struggle to teach college-level material to students who aren’t necessarily ready — bringing their success rates down. 

The requirements for receiving free college tuition should be more strict for students who have not yet proved themselves as individuals committed to an education.

The idea of rewarding students who owe the district money is counter-intuitive and an insult to students who have contributed to the district with high GPAs, thousands of dollars and culturally diverse campuses.

Instead of using district money to lure students into the system and keeping them there, the district should use that money to help currently enrolled students pay for their final semester at one of the Alamo Colleges and continue their college careers.

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