by Max Brantley
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.)