Pixel Tracker

Monday, November 19 , 2018, 2:06 pm | Fair with Haze 65º

 
 
 
 

Bill Cirone: Education Pays Dividends

“An investment in knowledge,” Benjamin Franklin famously observed, “pays the best interest.”

Few would argue with this bit of wisdom from one of our nation’s most famous forefathers. But, to the concern of millions of young Americans and their families, that investment is becoming increasingly difficult to make.

In an article published earlier this year on MarketWatch, journalist Jillian Berman laid out some of the stark facts about the crushing college debt crisis facing American students and their families.

Approximately 70 percent of recent college graduates leave their universities not only with a diploma but also with a significant debt burden.

Government sources estimate total student loans to be approximately $1.2 trillion. Nearly 40 million Americans, about 1 in 8, struggle with managing some kind of student loan debt. These are staggering numbers.

There are several factors contributing to this mounting problem. Among them is the fact that states’ investments in higher education have been trending down, in relative terms, over the last several decades.

While in California that trend has reversed over the last two years, funding is still below pre-recession levels. Consequently, colleges and universities have been forced to make up for those shortfalls by raising tuition on students.

Unfortunately, that increase in tuition has considerably outpaced the rise in household income. A recent article in Forbes noted that “since 1982 a typical family income increased by 147 percent, more than inflation but significantly behind the huge increase in college costs,” the authors note.

Meanwhile, they observe, “the college education inflation rate has risen nearly 500 percent.”

Few would argue about life-changing impacts of continuing one’s education. But with the mounting difficulties of being able to afford that education, the importance of developing lifelong habits of fiscal responsibility is as great as ever.

That is where the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, which has been working with local high school students and their families since 1962, comes in.

The Foundation is truly a local treasure. They consistently earn stellar 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, a leading independent charity watchdog group that assesses American charitable organizations.

For 12 of the last 14 years, the foundation has scored in Charity Navigator’s 90th percentile and above, and they proudly note that 100 percent of the monies they receive that is earmarked for scholarships go out as scholarships.

The Scholarship Foundation provides not only means and knowledge about financial options and higher education; it is also the embodiment of the financial stewardship they promote in the students and families they serve.

“We aim to inspire, encourage and support Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of college, graduate and vocational school education, through financial aid advising and the granting of scholarships,” says Scholarship Foundation President and CEO Candace Winkler.

“In the U.S., a higher education has long been the key to the door of opportunity and financial sufficiency,” Winkler notes, “but rapidly increasing costs and the subsequent debt burden our students carry upon graduation is pushing back their horizons. The Scholarship Foundation believes that every student with the motivation to earn a higher degree should be given chance to do so.”

The Scholarship Foundation takes that principle to heart. Last academic year, they awarded over 2,900 scholarships to Santa Barbara County students, totaling over $8.7 million.

They take just as much pride in the 45,000 people they reached in their free individual financial aid advising sessions and other outreach events.

“In so doing,” Winkler says, “we were able to help those students and families leverage over $40 million in financial aid from government, institutional and private sources.”

“In Santa Barbara County, close to 20 percent of residents live in poverty, as compared to the national average of just below 15 percent. Furthermore, as our housing costs are some of the most expensive in the nation, so low and middle income families find it very challenging to pay college tuition,” Winkler notes.

“That’s where we offer help, and the reward is tremendous,” she says. “Research shows that individuals who obtain a college degree will be happier, healthier and productive and engaged citizens.”

Indeed, their efforts have been having tremendous impacts for Santa Barbara County residents since the Scholarship Foundation’s inception 54 years ago. They know as well as anyone that helping young people invest in knowledge truly pays dividends.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >