Archive for Monday, December 18, 2006

Migrant student funding replaced

After loss of grant, provost allocates money to pay for spring semester

December 18, 2006

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When the sons and daughters of Kansas migrant workers found out they would lose financial aid to get a college education last month, many scrambled for answers.

Kansas University student Carlos Alvarado began searching for jobs, questioning how he could afford school because his father suffered an injury on the job and couldn't work.

"It's already hard enough to go to school and work part time," Alvarado said at the time.

But now, KU officials have pulled together funding to keep the migrant education program up and running - at least temporarily.

During the past five years, the College Assistance Migrant Program at KU helped 91 of KU's most vulnerable students pay for the first year of their college education - often the first opportunity for a member of their families to attend college.

The program also offered support and tutoring beyond the student's first year, helping to ensure they remained in school and were on track toward graduation.

From all accounts, the program was a success, with a high retention rate and generally good grades among the program's participants.

"It's been good for the students, good for KU, good for the state," said KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz.

But in October, CAMP officials found out the U.S. Department of Education had cut off funding, rejecting a grant proposal to renew financing for the program.

The U.S. Department of Education reviewed and graded 36 grant applications from schools across the country. The top eight were selected.

"Unfortunately, your application's score was ranked below number eight and not recommended for funding," wrote Francisco Garcia, director of the federal Office of Migrant Education, in an Oct. 6 letter.

It is still unclear why the grant application was rejected. In part because of open records laws in the state, part or all of the U.S. Department of Education's response to the grant application is not public record, KU officials said in response to a request.

Because of the unsuccessful grant application, 13 students already recruited into the program were left without the assistance they expected to receive.

But shortly after students learned the news, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway provided financial assistance for the nearly complete fall semester.

Shortly afterward, Hemenway met with KU Provost Richard Lariviere, who agreed to use about $39,000 in discretionary funds to pay for classes and fees through the upcoming spring semester, Bretz said.

Lariviere did not return calls seeking comment.

CAMP at KU coordinator Stacy Mendez recently met with two of the program's students to let them know their spring assistance was ensured. The students, she said, were relieved.

"Their families can rest easier, knowing their kids can continue their college education, at least this semester," Mendez said. "It's one less thing for them to worry about."

Beyond this spring, however, the future of the program is in jeopardy. Mendez said those CAMP officials still at the university would likely reapply for the federal grant next year.

But some officials involved with CAMP have since left the program, including former director Andrew Dalton, who is now involved in migrant education at the secondary level. Mendez said she also has moved onto other primary duties, although she still consults with CAMP students.

Without a recruiter or secured funding, Mendez said the program wouldn't look for needy high school students next semester - likely putting it on hold for at least a year.

But Bretz said KU officials would explore other funding options to keep the program up and running, regardless of the outcome of the next round of grant applications in fall 2007.

"We'll do everything we can to see if the program can continue," she said.

Comments

compmd 11 years ago

A few years ago I was a CAMP at KU math tutor. I only worked for them for a semester, but I was actually rather impressed by the program and the student I worked with. Its too bad about the funding, there were good kids involved. I wish them them the best of luck.

countrygirl 11 years ago

FYI--they can't get federal student loans. You have to be a citizen or be a permanant resident to get any federal financial aid.

bd 11 years ago

Why get a loan when you can get it free???

fletch 11 years ago

"Would that statement still be true if the CAMP money was diverted from the children of migrant farm workers, and invested in the sons and daughters of Kansas farm families... many of whom struggle to come up with the necessary dollars to stay in business?"

Running a small is not a profitable business or way of life. It hasn't been in 50 years. It is almost entirely buoyed by federal subsidies. Family farmers receive an insane amount of help from the government because most of them are too stubborn or too poor to move into the 21st century. So, sorry, I don't buy any excuse that they're getting a raw deal. If my business fails, the government isn't going to artificially control prices and give me free money to keep my product on the shelves.

Just because people have some sort of romanticized view of farmers, doesn't mean they deserve the amount of pity money we throw at them. I can think of about 50 jobs that are harder and benefit society more, so keep your sob stories.

everyone_needs_to_calm_down 11 years ago

First of all, CAMP program serves only U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents, not undocumented students. Migrant does not necessarily mean immigrant. It refers to a person who has worked in any type of agricultural job and has moved WITHIN the U.S. within a certain amount of time. So...students of farmers, meatpacking workers, etc...could have possibly qualified for this scholarship. Also, this program did serve Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, and many other students from other ethnicities. Be informed before making such ignorant comments. I'm glad that KU helped these students, at least for the rest of the year. THANKS!!! Imagine getting a huge scholarship and then losing it halfway through the year, wouldn't you want and need help too?

everyone_needs_to_calm_down 11 years ago

check out my comment on the migrant article, you'll learn something. Maybe you'll think twice next time before commenting on something you have no idea about. This progam is for farmers!

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years ago

Help American students, not the children of illegals. This country is going to hell. If it isn't stopped we will all have to learn spanish just to communicate. Doesn't 12 million illegal immigrants wake you people up? Thank you, Lynn

BeInformed 11 years ago

Dear Lynn731, The majority of these students are Americans. Just because they don't have blond hair, blue eyes, or their last names are Hispanic sounding doesn't mean they aren't American (btw some CAMP students are blond haired, blue eyed, or lynn would you prefer WASP). Don't be scared if minorities are trying to get an education, and help our country!!!! 4 Everybody this is a scholarship, meaning you need a certain GPA, extracurricular activities, not to mention somehow be involved in the farming industry of Kansas.

Sean Livingstone 11 years ago

I think we all need to cool down. America appreciates hardworking talents, regardless of their immigration status. It's also important to realize that Americans stay competitive because of migrants. It's time to think about ourselves being more competitive, if not we will lose out to many emerging countries.

everyone_needs_to_calm_down 11 years ago

PLEASE READ MY FIRST COMMENT BEFORE COMMENTING!!!!!! Think before posting

Wilbur_Nether 11 years ago

everyone_needs_to_calm_down wrote: "Think before posting", which is a pipe dream if I ever heard one.

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