Can Oregon afford to keep its promise?

By Henry Pastorino

Staff Writer

For those who want the opportunity to live at home, work and who want to pursue a cheaper method of education before transferring to a university, community college provides an answer.

Emiko Bledsoe, a 2016 Parkrose graduate and a Mt. Hood Community College freshman, is currently on the community grant called Oregon Promise.

“My first term of college only cost about $400 out of pocket,” Bledsoe said.

In July of 2015, Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 81. This bill gives financial support to Oregon high school graduates for community college tuition.

The bill, better known as the Oregon Promise, allowed Oregon to set aside $10 million for the 2016-2017 school year to provide tuition costs for up to 90 community college credits. The budget for next year is still in limbo, with a vote arising later this year that will decide the money allotted for the program for 2017-2018.

90 community college credits is equivalent to two years enrolled in a community college. Oregon Promise covers tuition ranging from $1,000 to $3,248 (minus $50 co pay) a year for students enrolled in community college but does not cover the entire cost.

Each recipient must be a recent Oregon high school graduate with a 2.5 cumulative GPA or have a GED with a score of 145 or higher on each test. The student also has to have been an Oregon resident for at least 12 months prior and have no more than 90 college credits attempted or completed.

Counselor Lynn Cole has had years of experience helping students meet requirements to graduate from high school. Cole said, “[The Oregon Promise] offers a way for many students who would not be able to go to community college to be able to access college. It works really well for our inbetween students. They don’t qualify for the Pell grant but they don’t have the money to pay for college.”    

Income can mean a lot for a student attending college. It could mean the difference of making or breaking a student’s future. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a student with a high school diploma only makes about $678 a week. A student with an associate’s degree, on the other hand, makes about $798 a week.

“Research shows that if an individual goes to college and graduates from college they will be more likely to get a job, keep that job, they will be more likely to keep that job even in times of economic crisis and they will make more money.” Alaina Langdahl, an English teacher at Parkrose, said.

This isn’t the only college grant that students have been able to get help from. Previously, students have used the Federal Pell grant instead. This grant allows up to $5,920 per student for the 2017-2018 school year.

The Pell grant, however, differs from Oregon Promise in a few ways. The Pell grant allows a student to use the grant on any college, in or out of the state, and not just a community college. But it is also based on parents’ income and the student’s attributes.

“[The Oregon Promise] makes it easier for students in the rainbow zone of financial aid to get the aid they need to attend school. MacKenzie Hurlburt, a 2016 Parkrose graduate and a PCC freshman said. Hurlburt is going to college under the Oregon Promise for a Computer Science degree. 

The “rainbow zone” Hurlburt is referring to is when students can’t afford to pay for college without a grant, but also have too much family income to be able to apply for the Pell grant.      

For next year, there is question as to how the budget will be reconsidered. While Oregon legislature set aside $10 million for the 2016-2017 school year, the 2017-2018 school year budget was to be voted on the following year. The vote will decide if the program will be refunded or if the budget will be changed.

According to Oregon Live, officials are estimating there could be a $3.5 million additional cost added to the bill. But Oregon is confronted with a $1.8 million budget gap. This means, that, for the Oregon Promise, everything is on the line.

For many students in Oregon, this bill could mean whether they attend college or not.


Photo by Waymond Crowder

Great again or stronger together?

Great again or stronger together?

By Henry Pastorino

Staff Writer

On Nov. 8, 2016, the 45th president will be elected, replacing current President Barack Obama. The 2016 presidential election has been unusual, to say the least. The current nominees include former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump, a “successful” business owner.
Clinton, the Democratic nominee with years of political experience, announced her campaign in 2015. As first lady, Clinton worked to support health and children’s rights. During her time as Secretary of State, she had her sets of email scandals, yet she continued to accomplish her goals.
Then there’s Trump, the Republican nominee with years of business experience. Some may say that he is successfully running his businesses, such as Trump Golf, a golfing resort. Or that he just likes branding things with his name on it, like Trump Hotel, Trump International Realty, Trump Winery and Trump Corporate.
The business world is vastly different from the political world. The regulations and goals are very different. If Trump ran the U.S. government like one of his business deals, it would leave our country at a loss.
“He’s a businessman, which may be good for America, but his company has been bankrupt. I think three times now,” senior Tieonna Jenkins said.                With no political experience, Trump believes that he can “make America great again.” No matter how much backlash he receives from social media and other candidates, Trump is stubborn enough to continue.
There’s a great difference between Clinton’s and Trump’s views on things. Clinton has a clear standpoint on the topic of immigration, and Trump has the most ignorant standpoint.
Trump’s views on immigration are what you call a “little old-fashioned.” Although he wants to promote legal immigration, Trump plans to build a physical “impenetrable” wall, and he wants Mexico to pay for it. Like that’s not arrogant enough, he also plans to brand his name on it.
“If he wants the wall built, he should pay for it, but I don’t think there should be a wall because even if there was a wall,  people would still find a way to come to America… they’re just going to find other ways to get here,”  Jenkins said.
Clinton’s immigration standpoints vastly differ from Trump’s. As it says on the Clinton’s official campaign website, she wants immigration policy to “stay true to our fundamental American values: that we are a nation of immigrants, and we treat those who come to our country with dignity and respect-and we embrace immigrants, not denigrate them.”
For new voters, the presidential election must be a daunting decision, and a lot of younger voters probably will not vote at all. It’s understandable. Neither Trump nor Clinton is a great choice. It’s like choosing between mayonnaise and mustard. Sure, one is better, but do you really want it?
But for some unknown reason, some people really do want Trump to be president. No matter how inconsistent his views on abortion, immigration, and education are, there are those who do see him in office.
People don’t realize that that inconsistency might be dealing with nuclear bombs, or the next world war. Trump is confusing, and he probably doesn’t even realize that he’s contradicting himself most of the time.
Spanish teacher Jeanette Zuniga-Lee wories about how Trump would represent the country.
“I think some people have a hard time trusting what he will do if elected. He’s a bit impulsive, so some fear that he may say something or do something that puts us in a very awkward position around the world.” Zuniga-Lee said.
A very, very awkward position. Recently, a conversation between Trump and Billy Bush was leaked to the public. Trump degrades women in the conversation, yet he claims that he has huge respect for them.
But Trump wasn’t the only candidate to have private information leaked. Around the same time, more of Clinton’s email scandals were leaked by WikiLeaks.
Both candidates have shown America that they can be unreliable and not trustworthy. Even during debates, the two are constantly poking at each other like children. However, it’s clear who is willing to run the country with dignity, and it’s clear who just craves the attention.