Some Arkansas Conservatives No Longer Compassionate

by Michael Cook ([email protected]) 105 views 

Why is it that many modern-day Republicans’ first instinct is to stick it to the middle-class, the young or the poor?

Republican Rep. Nate Bell’s comments today on his Facebook page are a perfect illustration of how some Republicans no longer believe in compassionate conservatism.

Bell wrote about the Arkansas Scholarship Program on his Facebook page and correctly notes that roughly 40% of lottery scholarship recipients lose it in the first year because they failed to make the required college grades to keep the scholarship.  I agree with Representative Bell that this is a distributing trend and it needs to be addressed.

However, Bell proposes to stick it to these college kids by making them pay back the scholarship if they fail to meet the academic requirements.

From Bell’s Facebook page:

“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.”

Bell wants to saddle these college kids with unexpected debt that could range anywhere from $4,000 to $14,000. Bell’s ridiculous solution to bad grades would force students to spend literally years paying off this debt.  Bell’s Draconian idea would delay some of these students from buying cars or homes because they couldn’t afford it since they’d be working to pay off the unexpected debt. How’s that for helping the economy?

I don’t know of any scholarships that force the students to repay the government or institution if they fail to make the grades. Bell’s plan would be a first, as far as I know.

If students don’t make the required grades, they should lose the scholarship since we must require accountability. But if scholarship programs were converted to a scholarship/loan hybrid it would likely hurt higher education in general and create a mountain of debt for young people.

Bell doesn’t seem to care about determining the root cause of why students are losing their lottery scholarship and doesn’t seem to care about forcing these students into debt.

It seems compassionate conservatism has turned into severe conservatism for some Arkansas Republicans.