The Osage News asked the Osage 2012 candidates if there should be more stringent criteria to receive an Osage scholarship. This is the second in a series of questions that will be emailed to all candidates before Election Day as a part of our Osage News Weekly Roundup series.
We allowed candidates up to 300 words to answer. Their answers were published in the order they were received. Candidates are not required to participate in the series.
The third Weekly Roundup question and answers will be published Monday (May 21).
Olivia “Libbi” Gray
I believe that the $40 million cap on our budgets over the next five years and the increasing number of scholarship applications received necessitates more stringent regulations regarding our scholarship. Of course we would love to be able to give every Osage an education free of financial worries but given the fact that we have limited resources and a growing population I don’t know how we can do that without hurting other programs that are needed by our people.
I want to make it clear that any changes in scholarship affect my life on a personal level. I have one daughter in college and another entering college in the fall. I am still willing to say that we cannot continue on the path we have been on up to this point. I don’t want to see the Osage Nation return to the days of providing only enough funds to purchase books. I know we can do better than that. I do believe that we, as parents to college students, have a responsibility to provide for our students. If we are to teach our children accountability there should be an expectation that they will pass their classes or deal with a consequence (reduced funding,) and that they will work toward a degree program that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time (they can’t go to school indefinitely on the tribe’s dime).
I would love to see us provide enough money for tuition, books, fees, and even housing but do away with excess funds unless it is for something needed by the student to complete a degree program (computer equipment, lab equipment, etc.). I don’t believe that a few students should be able to profit from our scholarship program while others cannot meet the basic expenses required to attend college.
No, I believe that as long as your an Osage indian, then thats all the
requirements to get a scholarship. we should give all our Osage
students equal oppurtunities to get a higher education. I think each
student should recieve the same amount as any other student no matter
what college they attend.
opinion by: Roscoe Mays
Answer: Not at this time. The Congress recently completed a two-year study of the Higher Education Scholarship Program. It determined scholarship amounts and the method of awarding them were not in most instances keeping pace with increases in tuition and fee costs, which were 9% in Oklahoma and more elsewhere over the last two years.
The Congress reacted to that reality and found a way for students to receive up to the average applicable Oklahoma state public institution equivalent of tuition and fee costs for the 2012-2013 school year. The Education Department and the Congressional Education Committee identified areas of the Program that needed to be redefined, and included parameters and criteria in legislation which established a permanent Scholarship Fund. For example, there were no limits on receiving scholarship funding without obtaining a degree. Additionally, the Office of Fiscal and Performance Review identified several areas of waste in the Program, which included the Department awarding scholarship funds to non-accredited institutions and paying out significantly more for tuition, fees and books than actual cost. ONCA 12-17, enacted after a 12-0 override vote of the Chief’s veto, addresses these and other identified issues and concerns. The purpose of the legislation is to provide adequate funding and the incentives for Osages to obtain higher education degrees.
The legislation includes definitions that apply to all students and categorizes learning institutions and types of scholarships. It authorizes the Education Department to award at least two types of scholarships, requires publication of a student handbook by May 15 of each year identifying scholarship opportunities, and encourages different types of incentives. The legislation allows approximately 700 students to receive more scholarship funding in the 2012 School year than ever before. With this legislation, it appears a solution to concerns of waste and criteria have been addressed.
No. I don’t believe the qualifications to receive a Higher Education Scholarship should be more stringent. For so many years we had very little financial aid to help us be successful in higher education so I believe our Scholarship Program is one of the positive points we have been able to implement. Implementation and budgeting however could stand some more stringent attention so that our students don’t have to worry every semester whether they are going to be saddled with the bill or if the Nation is going to follow through with its promises.
Budgeting and planning seems to be the most concerning problem with our scholarship program therefore these continual issues should be given time and attention in order to solve the problem. The current situation leaves our students enrolled and in attendance for three or four weeks before they’re sure the funds are going to be paid to their schools. This is concerning for not only the schools but the student and their parents.
Education is the key to success and we should encourage and support students of all ages as they take that journey to become educated, productive individuals in society.
Joseph Roger Lynn
No I don't.
But I do think we need a degree completion program distinct from our scholarship program. One that is more comprehensive in its support, tracking the progress of the student towards their desired degree, while requiring a four year commitment from the student. And also that utilizes either the Haskell Indian Nations University or Fort Lewis College in Durango.
I strongly believe that ANY Osage who is serious about furthering their education is deserving of a scholarship. We have a well established and capable education department. As a Congressman, I would want input and ideas from the education deptartment employees on this issue. Limiting the availibilty of scholarship money WILL NOT move us forward as a Nation of well educated people.
I have been told the application is 14 to 20 pages long so I am not sure how it can get more stringent. I appreciate the hard work from Ida Doyle and her personnel since I know they hear from irate parents and students all the time.
As a former educator and a parent of a recent graduate, we both learned there are specific time tables the student must follow. This teaches the student about the real world. At the same time I am a firm believer that if the student followed all the guidelines and we promised in writing a certain amount of money then we as a Nation need to honor that.
I know the Osage Nation does not have difficulty getting our students into college, but the issue is getting them to the 2nd and 3rd year and graduation. One criterion should be preparation classes that start in their freshman year. Don’t wait until a student is a senior in high school and they have the classic senioritis. Preparation classes can be held year round to accommodate new students. Visiting colleges only in the senior year needs to be expanded. College can be an impersonal place when an 18 year old is on their own. I feel this is the reason some students go to tribal schools, since they feel they will know someone there. Another criterion could be class on financial literacy for college students and their parents. Again this could be a class held year round at all three villages.
No, I believe the criteria to receive an Osage scholarship is appropriate to begin the application process.
However, I do believe the amount of the scholarship may bring a variety of opinions, to include the annual appropriation to the Department and requested supplements, thereafter.
Our Education Department has made great strides to improve the operation and services. The website is current, the information and forms are easily accessible to the public. It appears the policy and procedures are updated and available. The process should provide systematic tracking for statistical reporting. I support them and encourage them to continue their efforts.
At the present time I do not believe that scholarship award criteria should be made any more difficult for students to access. Maybe we should even think of streamlining the process by moving toward online application process. I do believe that grades, proper documentation, and of course deadlines should be the the determining factor for awards. The nation can afford our current scholarship load. We should watch the budget and if we move toward a point we cannot afford to fund all students who meet criteria -- then re-examine criteria.