The American Opportunity Tax Credit won’t make college cheaper

President-elect Barack Obama has some fine goals regarding you and your tuition. I mean it–I like them! But the way he’d prefer to make college more affordable is not a tenable one. The best plan he has yet is one he shared with Sen. John McCain; Obama said in a 2007 speech in Iowa, “I’ll also simplify the financial aid application process so that we don’t have a million students who aren’t applying for aid because it’s too difficult.”

All or nothing

Oregon voters are playing a gambling game with Measures 57 and 61. How are we gambling? There are three scenarios: 1. Neither 57 or 61 pass, and neither take effect, 2. Only one passes and takes effect, and 3. Both pass–but the one with more votes takes effect. If you want neither 57 nor 61, but happen to prefer one to the other, then there is a chance at getting the one you don’t want.

Subsidized mass transit… for students? Thank a driver today!

As a PSU student you have it great-that is if you live near a bus stop or MAX line, and that bus-line takes less than half an hour to get you to school or back. You see, PSU covers the extra cost of a Flex Pass, normally discounted at $220/term but available to you for $175/term. Sweet deal for some of you!

The importance of spendthrift with student fees

Recent stipend increases for student groups and the Associated Students of Portland State University raise questions about the use of student fees. [“Student stipends raised across the board,” Oct. 9.] To be clear, the proposed stipend increase is to come from a reserve fund–unspent student fees. I am comfortable with the idea that ASPSU can ask for a stipend increase from the reserve because of living costs. What is not clear though, is how much more should be given to student groups.

Critics should give Obsession DVD a chance

Too much has been said recently about the film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West without saying anything. Detractors have called it hateful and fear mongering and Islamophobic, and many criticized The Oregonian for allowing the DVD to be distributed with its newspapers, like it would any other advertisement.

Is small and local enough to succeed?

Portland State’s new recreation center will open this coming year. A big question posed to ASPSU was how to carry out one of their campaign platforms of “building a sustainable future” in regards to the new building. And I am writing to tell you that amid temptations to do otherwise, they have been doing it the right way thus far by trying to find businesses that will be successful on campus. Let me temper this by saying, let’s not get carried away.

Protection is a first priority

Editor’s note–This is a response to the September 15 article, “More guns is never the answer.” Banning guns on public property is a terrible idea. Well intentioned, but ineffective and even counter-productive. Guns are important for the protection of citizens, especially in places where the vulnerable congregate, particularly schools. Let’s start with the gun ban in Washington D.C. The ban, which had lasted since the mid-1970s, proved worthless.

Beware of the bureaucracy

Let this serve as a warning to incoming freshman and transfer students: The computer system known as DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) and the human machine known as PSU’s Degree Requirements Office don’t always talk. And this means that if you’ve taken any classes needing special approval to count towards your degree, graduating may take a while.