Graduation: A time to celebrate and…

If you will allow me a personal note, I helped my daughter, Taylor, celebrate her graduation last weekend from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a bachelor of science in biology. A graduation alone is cause for celebration, but this one was particularly noteworthy to me because it was accomplished in four years and left Taylor debtfree, which is becoming more and more of a rarity in these days of everincreasing tuition, diminishing student aid and recovering economy.

Taylor was in high school when greed, incompetence and malfeasance by people with huge incomes devastated our economy and wiped out a large chunk of her college fund and the college funds of thousands of other young people throughout the country. As a result, many of those kids and their families incurred heavy debt, while others may even have given up on college.

My family was more fortunate than many, and I am grateful. But college is an unnecessarily tough financial struggle for many middle and lowincome families in Texas, where the state “leadership” has chosen to deliberately underfund higher education and slash student aid while forcing university regents to increase tuition virtually every year. (The twoyear tuition freeze recently imposed at UTAustin, although welcome, was largely a political ploy on the part of the governor, not a permanent funding solution.)

This year’s college graduates – and their families – deserve our congratulations. Our socalled state “leaders” deserve a kick in the behind until they enact sound funding policies for higher education that promote, rather than deter, learning opportunities.


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