Heads up, Seniors: "There's No Free Lunch!"
With the publication of the Gila Community College's catalog, recently came the announcement that once again, under the beneficent leadership of Eastern Arizona College (EAC), there are "Senior Scholarships." These allow anyone age 55 or older to take classes at the College for "free." "Free" means that EAC charges the tuition to the Gila College budget (a.k.a. Gila County taxpayers).
According to the fee schedule, the charge for a senior's three-hour class would be $94. Since there are now no noncredit classes, if a senior just wanted to learn watercolor painting, for example, without taking tests, etc., an auditing fee (p. 3) would bring the cost of that class to $199. EAC would charge this to the Gila College budget (our tax money) plus an "overhead fee" of 25 percent. Additionally, EAC gets to count our students, paying and non-paying, for the purpose of getting money from the state.
The people of Gila County voted to have our own provisional community college so that we would have control of the quality of education offered, and of how our educational tax money is spent. A coalition of southern Gila County members on the Gila Community College Board of Governors has voted away all control of the educational process to EAC, turned over Gila County taxes earmarked for higher education, and even given over control of the property and buildings on our campus. If you doubt this, read a copy of the agreement that the three-person majority of "our" governing board negotiated with Eastern Arizona College.
It's time that people in northern Gila County wake up to how the "powers-that-be" in Southern Gila County continue to screw us over. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!
Marilyn Decker, Payson