PAYBACK: Rep. Nate Bell proposes repayment of scholarships when degrees arent earned.

  • PAYBACK: Rep. Nate Bell proposes repayment of scholarships when degrees aren’t earned.

Good catch by Michael Cook, following Facebook posts by Rep. Nate Bell, a Tea Party Republican from Mena.

He notes Bell’s idea to force students who receive lottery scholarships but don’t complete their college education to pay back scholarship money they received. Wrote Bell:

“I’m considering filing legislation to alter the Academic Challenge Scholarship program so that scholarships are contingent on the student continuing their education until they earn a degree. Students who fail to continue their education to graduation would be asked to repay funds received using a repayment program similar to that used for federal student loans.”

There’s a lot wrong with this idea, (family calamities that force termination of college, for one thing), but one is value Bell imbues in a piece of paper. Degree completion is a desired thing, yes, but education is valuable in any amount. Some students get the boost they need from education short of a degree. Should they be punished for all the many and complicated reasons a degree can’t be completed, including economic ones?

(I say this, admittedly, as a grad school dropout who would have owed payback on money I received if that rule had applied to me in 1972. But I did stay long enough to learn a few things and, particularly, to get a faculty recommendation to an Arkansas editor that landed me a job at the Arkansas Gazette. Sorry about that, Nate.)