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Covering college aid

Regarding a proposed graduation requirement in completing a financial aidapplication for high school seniors, I’d like to share some thoughts as an educator with 20 years of experience in college admissions and financial-aid services.

The application for financial aid, also known as the FAFSA or California Dream Act, has for years remained at about the 50-percent completion rate nationwide. A recent study found that in 2014, nearly 1.5 million high school graduates failed to complete an application, leaving about $2.7 billion in Pell Grants. Louisiana, Texas and Illinois passed legislation requiring all seniors to complete a FAFSA as a graduation requirement.

Allan Hancock College implemented the Promise Program providing free tuition for graduates from local high schools as long as a FAFSA application is completed.

This year, three of our comprehensive high schools made the top 25 in FAFSA completion in California. Pioneer Valley High is in the top-10. Still, more than 500 seniors did not complete a financial aid application.

Teens don't always know which path they will take after graduation. If they choose not to attend college, fine, but if they change their minds, we prefer they be ready to access funds to help pay for college.

The school district is responsible for providing equal access and opportunity to if not all, the majority of students. This policy will capture the majority of the remaining students.

The financial-aid application as a graduation requirement policy will be on the agenda as an action item at the school board meeting tonight, Tuesday. The policy will have an opt-out option for any parent or 18-year-old student who does not want to compete the application. Most colleges, universities, and scholarships applications now require students to fill out a FAFSA.

Let’s not wait for Sacramento to tell us when to do what is right.

Diana Perez

Board member

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Santa Maria Joint Union School

The sky is falling and climate change

The present-day hysteria over climate change can be traced back to an old English fairytale, Henny-Penny The Sky is Falling retold in 1922 by Flora Annie Steel.

The Sky is Falling story lay dormant until 1939 when the Harrisburg Courier reported: "that the glaciers like those in Norway face the possibility of a catastrophic collapse". In 1947, professor Hans Ahlmann warned of "widespread inundation" from the rise in the surface of the ocean, none of which happened.

Move on to 1972 when Brown University professors warned that we were about to experience "glacial temperatures" in about a century and in 1975 the Washington Post, The Guardian and Time magazine ran front-page stories of a coming ice age with "no end in sight".

Well, there was an end in sight as in the late 1980s the narrative had switched to "global warming." 

Over the years the press has tried to frighten us first with a coming ice age then it was global warming and now "climate change" with the Arctic to be ice-free by 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018 yet Greenland Climate Research Center reported that there is plenty of Arctic ice in 2019.

Back in Biblical times, the city of Ephesus was a major seaport on the Aegean Sea. However today, Ephesus lies four to five miles from the sea. If sea levels are actually rising it seems that Ephesus should be underwater.

Ralph Bush

Arroyo Grande

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