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Opinion: A vote for Romney is a vote against education

Lindsay Bookout

Lindsay Bookout“Romney Ryan 2012.” You may have seen this message chalked on walkways and staircases across the university this past week.

Now, I don’t affiliate myself with either political party, but seeing Gov. Mitt Romney’s name scrawled all over a college campus is a little disconcerting – especially after what Romney said in Virginia this June: students “should get as much education as they can afford.”

Okay, I understand that Romney might have been saying that college is expensive and that students should be realistic and get an education they can afford. But either way, it shocks me that college students are choosing to vote for a politician who does not seem to want to make education more accessible.

 Romney also supports running mate Rep. Paul Ryan’s Republican budget, which calls for a $170 billion dollar cut over 10 years resulting from a revision in eligibility for the Pell grant – the largest supplier of federal financial aid — according to the Huffington Post. 

This alteration is estimated to affect over one million of the low-income students who needed financial aid the most.

(Hence the addition of “because who needs Pell grants anyway?” under the Republican candidates’ chalk-written names outside of Plemmons.)

College is already too expensive. Some people are being forced to choose between their dreams and what is realistically affordable.

But I’m sure Romney cares about American’s education. He even gave students some options for affording college when he spoke at Otterbein University in Ohio this April, according to CBS News: “We’ve always encouraged young people – take a shot, go for it, take a risk and get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”

Borrow money from your parents? Start a business? He makes it sound like everyone’s mom and dad have $18,000 a year unused in the bank, or that every high school kid has enough time and money to start up a successful business.

That doesn’t seem very realistic.

The Center for Education Statistics reports that more than half of students enrolled in universities in the United States are on financial aid. Some of those recipients probably wouldn’t be in college right now if it weren’t for government funding.

People who want to get an education should not be hindered. And without good, diverse education, the future of our country looks very grim.

But like I said – I’m not a democrat, and I’m not a republican. I’m just interested in the candidate who has my best interests in mind as a college student.

And it doesn’t look like Romney fits the bill.

If he takes office, I fear the future holds the possibility of low-income students — or simply anyone who cannot afford college tuition — being denied as good of an education as they deserve.

To the person writing “Romney Ryan 2012” all over campus, and to those thinking of voting republican in the upcoming election: I sincerely hope you truly understand the impact of your choice on your peers and classmates.

Vote for what is right, not for what your party says is right.

Bookout, a sophomore English major from Charlotte, N.C., is an intern news reporter.

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