By Emma Neukam
For many seniors like Katelyn Daley, the rising costs of school tuition is both nerve wracking and stressful—and the costly universities she said she hopes to attend don’t help in easing her worry. New York University, Marquette, Duke and Princeton are just a few of the many expensive, out-of-state private schools to which she has applied this year.
“They range in price but most of them are extraordinarily expensive, plus they’re out-of-state,” Daley said.
But with the institution of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ proposition he plans to make to Congress, they wouldn’t have to be.
According to a report in early November on Indianapolis news station WTHR (www.wthr.com), Daniels said he plans to make a proposition to Congress that would motivate and reward students to work harder during their years in high school. Daniels’ plan would allow students who were eligible and gathered enough credits to graduate after their junior year. According to the plan, the money that would be spent on supporting them through their last year of high school—any amount between $4,500 and $12,000–would then be put toward the cost of tuition at the post-secondary education institution of their choice.
A December report from the Daily Reporter released more details concerning Daniels’ education proposals, although many questions still remain unanswered. Daniels, along with State Superintendent Tony Bennett, gave their ideas to Indiana’s Education Roundtable, which promoted much discussion about the proposals.
The report also states that the agenda proposals would be placed into different legislative bills during the 2011 General Assembly, which began on Jan. 5.
With the state of the economy, Tanna Hanger, college and career counselor, said the rising tuition of colleges is most likely on the minds of many families and this proposition could affect many students’ college decisions.
“It’s not just private colleges; it’s everywhere. It’s inflation,” she said.
Daley said if Daniels’ plan were to be put into action, she would choose to graduate early and take the money, especially if it could be used for the expensive out-of-state schools she wants to attend.
“For me, any amount would help,” she said.
However, Daley said there could be some possible drawbacks to completing high school in only three years.
“It would make me sad; I would miss out on a lot of opportunities, like the ones you get when you’re a senior,” she said.
The members present at the Roundtable discussion in early December had similar questions dealing with graduating a year early. According to the report, members said if more students choose to graduate early rather than take advanced placement classes, this could affect a school’s ability to offer these classes and prevent them from being an option at all.
According to Hanger, missing senior year wouldn’t deny students any other scholarships they could receive from a certain college, even if they did use the money allotted by Daniels’ plan, because colleges mainly look at freshman through junior year grades. However, she said this doesn’t excuse students from working hard all the way through senior year.
“(Students) need to take every year seriously, and (they) need to finish strong (their) senior year so that (they) have a good transcript,” Hanger said.
Senior Kayla Perry said graduating early and taking the money from Daniels’ plan would be a difficult choice.
“I’m not super worried about (the cost of tuition), but it is definitely something I think about. It would give me a reason to think about graduating early,” she said.
To counter the rising costs of tuition, Perry said she has applied for some scholarships within the schools she applied to, including Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, Indiana University and Marquette, as well as some outside scholarships.
However, Perry said her decision to graduate early would take away valuable memories from her high school experience, especially senior year.
“I think senior year’s pretty important,” Perry said. “I think it’s the year you get to have a little more fun and you get to have a little bit more freedom. You’d be missing that and you may not get to graduate with your friends.”
Daley also said missing that last year of high school might maker her feel behind her peers if she attended college a year early.
“I don’t think I’d feel as well rounded if I skipped the last year,” she said.
Overall, Hanger said, ultimately, whether or not students take advantage of Daniels’ potential opportunity would be up to them, and it might be a different answer for everyone.
She said, “It’s going to completely depend on the student. I’m sure that it will benefit some kids. A year can make a big difference, though.”