I soundly reject the insinuation made by Walt Handelsman in his cartoon in the Jan. 13 Advocate that students from lower-income families are automatically not as smart as students from higher-income families and, therefore, less eligible for TOPS scholarship money.
To my knowledge (and please correct me if I am wrong), the program is entirely merit-based. A student from a low-income family with an excellent grade-point average is just as eligible for scholarship money as the student with the same GPA from a high-income family.
Unless the teachers and administration at schools with low-income students are not making it known to those students that they are eligible for TOPS money, the students should know that if they work and excel, they will be rewarded with the monetary assistance.
If low-income students are not being made aware of their eligibility, then the teachers and administration at their school should be severely punished for shortchanging students’ futures.
If students and parents of any income level are aware of the availability of the TOPS money, it is their responsibility to make the student eligible. Once the proper GPA is achieved, then I see no way any student can be denied the assistance, and if this is actually happening, then the system should be investigated.
This is just not complicated — work, study, make excellent grades and earn TOPS. If the system is making this complicated, the system is broken and must be repaired so that all students can make themselves eligible for TOPS assistance.
Handelsman’s cartoon is misleading, and he should apologize.
retired sales representative