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A Penny in the College Bank

During a family reunion, a guest mentioned that he was glad that he was starting the Florida college preplan. When I pointed out the possibility of one of his daughters wanting to go out of state, he scuffed at the idea. It made me wonder whether or not the idea of paying for college early by the use of state-program, perhaps to avoid rise in costs, was worth the potential yearning for that same child to follow their own path and choose a school which does not meet the plan’s criteria.
After reading an article by a contributor from USA Today, the pre-paid college mold is not one that fits all. It is beneficial in some circumstances. While the cost to attend may rise every year, the money put forth today can at least cover the price of future credits. Also, despite Florida’s preplan only covering public universities and community colleges, it can also be applied to cover the average in-state public tuition cost towards a private school or one that is located out of the state. No matter what, the money that you put in you will get back in full. Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington are among only a handful of states that guarantee a pay in difference incase the universities that the plan does cover raise their prices. For the people investing in these plans, it is a stress-free scenario. There is no worry based on the fluctuations of stock markets effecting the funds that are being saved.
For those doubters who, while they still like a sense of security, want more options, programs such as the 529 Plans, make the process more flexible on a 360 degree angle. For the most part, there are various payment plans and a more varied selection of top-ranking colleges. Rather than the student being forced to stay in-state, the 529 Plans works to include private colleges and universities across the nation. Among the most part, these colleges are diversified enough to include a range of schools from some of the Ivy Leagues to consortiums. Other than more options to choose from, there exists no age limit as to when a child must be signed up for the program. Also, if when college season comes around, the money is used towards all of the school’s expenses then there is a levy on taxes. Cons to this program exist in that the worth of the savings may fluctuate. As opposed to the Florida preplan or other state-exclusive programs, the 529 Plans is based on the current state of that market. The money is invested into stocks and bonds.
As Joe Hurley, the founder of SavingforCollege.com has said in the Seattle Times, it is impossible to buy future tuition at today’s prices through state-saving funds such as Florida preplan, instead it is purchasing the tuition at its premium. While the 529 Plans may not be a concrete path, it does allow room for more options and possibilities. However, just as it was insinuated that a child’s caretakers should know best for their children, it is important that every family makes a decision as to what is right for them.

Prompt: In a poem describe a child inserting their opinion in an adult’s conversation.

Meeting Mother Nature in the Middle

As a nation under God, we wonder what it will take to stabilize the economy. While the unemployment rate has been slowly decreasing, the slight improvements have been overshadowed by inflation. In particular, the rising gas may be convincing enough for the citizens to encourage the government to depend solely on the United State’s oil reserves. However, with the documentaries, such as Gasland directed by Josh Fox, lingering in the minds of mother-nature lovers there stands the question of what may be a necessary sacrifice. Which is more important in the long-run, the ever-increasing gas prices or the preservation of America’s nature? With one simple solution, this either-or problem can be solved.
If the law that former President George Bush levied in 2005 is re-enacted, then companies that drill oil will have to take greater measures to prevent oil leaking into water sources. The method that these companies use, hydraulic fracturing, sets a machine to drill and shake the land to create a flow of oil. Without cautionary measures the oil infuses into water that thousands of citizens are dependent on for drinking, cooking and bathing. In many recorded cases, the water then becomes combustible and vulnerable to illness. If millions of Americans are heard, then a law should be enacted to ensure that these companies will take cautionary measures and concoct a safer method that will allow the same result without polluting our water.
While communities throng together to voice out their opinions and exercise their right to rally against their land being destroyed, it seems as though they are being ignored. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, in Illinois people have congregated to have their unified opinion against hydraulic fracturing be heard. Instead of feeling united and strong, they sense that their legislatures are voting opposite of the public’s opinion.
What government office holders should remember is that they are meant to serve the country. The first to hold office, the Founders, clearly carved the ideology that government is meant to follow what the people want not vice versa. What the people, also, are meant to bear in mind is that with the continuation of support and rallying their exists the possibility of meeting in the middle.

Prompt: In a short story of no more than 700 words, describe what one of your secondary characters would fight for.

Slicing the Middle Man’s Price

For high school students that have a set mapped course for college, they face several churning seas before they even can click ‘Submit’ on their application. Before they worry about any price tag and the special exclusive discount they may receive, they must worry about the multiple costs that stream from applying just to one school. Although several companies and institutions try to focus on helping students, all they seem to want is a check.

           The first financial mouse trap is set in a student’s sophomore and junior year. With the two years filled with standardized tests, the cost of taking the SAT Reasoning with writing, SAT Subjects Tests, and ACT can lead to a bill of $135. Never mind the fact that teachers recommend that a student takes the SAT Reasoning with writing and ACT at least three times, which would thus increase the price. Before taking the tests, the smart snack that students vouch for, the preparation whether by tutoring or the traditional method of studying from a book can lead to something so simple yet necessary casting the minimum of $20. With all universities, except those with the exemptions to all standardized tests, requiring these tests there exists no choice by to take them. What these companies, like College board who cling to the image of being supportive of anything educational, should make these tests more affordable by reducing the prices and, when it comes to sending off the scores, either cutting or putting a transaction that occurs through the computer at a zero cost. With these head owners of multi-million dollar testing industries sucking every penny away before the voyage of college expenses have even begun, they ignore the bare bones of the economy by not lowering their prices.

            The irony in the next set up is unmistakable. On every application it is an option for students to get considered for financial aid. Those that do choose to fill out the tedious forms and go through the hassle of collecting the information, usually go through this one journey to save money not expecting to have to pay for the application itself. Another catch that the College board does is pry the money to send the application of the CSS Profile to the majority of schools that require it in addition to the FAFSA form for financial consideration.

            Schools themselves can ease the pain. Rather than worrying about finding the money for the application itself, which may range from a minimum of $30 to $100, they can either cut it to a minimum or allow certain students who may send in the application through early action or early decision to not pay it. This advantage offers students motivation to finish their application sooner.

            By cutting these small costs it allows for a student to once again dream big. It allows families to be able to cross one small financial bridge which can have significant effects. At the end of the senior year, a student can feel content that they tried their hardest and applied to all the schools on their wish list. By these institutions and companies cutting back a few costs, they will have achieved at least one accomplishment – they would have cut that question of “what if…”

 Prompt: In a poem no more than twenty lines long, describe a situation in which the narrator wonders what seems to be impossible.