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Obama’s proposal leaves many asking, how much does free really cost?


WASHINGTON- On Jan. 9 the White House released information on President Obama’s bold proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students. Obama proposes to spend $60 billion over 10 years to help the estimated 9 million Americans who could enroll in community college, tuition-free. During the president’s State of the Union Address on Jan. 20, he officially announced his proposal for free community college known as America’s College Promise. “In a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before,

we need to up our game(…) we need to do more,” Obama said. “We live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It is not fair to them and sure is not smart for our future.” His proposal aims to provide Americans with the education they need to “meet the demands of a growing global economy without having to take on decades of debt before they even embark on their career,” the White House states. The president’s initiative is aimed at enhancing student responsibility for their education, increasing enrollment, developing high-quality degree programs at community colleges, increasing graduation and transfer rates, and making two years of college as “free and universal as High School.” Continued on page 4 >>



BY SANDI M. COLBY Congress finalized a spending plan for 2015 that included a cut of $303 million from the Pell Grant Program, making college less affordable to low-income students. Proposed by now retired U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the cut is intended to free up money that can be used to increase the revenues of student loan servicing companies on behalf of the Department of Education. According to Washington Post writer Danielle Douglas-Gabriel,

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“nine million students benefited from the $33.7 billion Pell Grant program in the 2013-2014 school year. The federal program, created in 1972, awards money that does not have to be repaid to students whose household incomes are typically $30,000 or less.” Harkin’s spokesperson Susannah Cernojevich stated that, “The demands placed on Pell during the recession, when thousands of people entered or went back to school, have changed as the economy has improved.” Cernojevich continues, “This bill provides sufficient funding to increase the maximum award, reinstates eligibility to some students cut off in Continued on page 5 >>



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The Talon meets Thursday’s from 12:30-2:00pm in room 417 (MVC). Join us.

College Promise proposal would Horse or Trojan Horse?” “Education The America’s College Promise let community colleges educate is not ‘free’ [and] costs money well proposal intends to “create a new workers and help them acquire beyond tuition price. Unless this partnership with states to help them more advanced skills in job training program is prepared to cover all waive tuition in high-quality programs programs, or can even “offer costs of attendance, advertising for responsible students, while academic programs and an affordable the proposal as ‘free’ education is promoting key reforms to help more route to a four-year college degree.” a set-up for students who may not students complete at least two years Although the federal government understand that they will still incur of college,” the White House states. has pledged to cover three-quarters significant expenses to attend even Obama’s plan contains some of the average cost of community community college,” McGuire wrote. provisions that must be upheld by college, states that choose to However, McGuire does praise students if they wish to have their participate must contribute the America’s College Promise for its tuition waived. Students must attend remainder of the cost. ability to potentially, “reduce student college at least part-time, maintain a States are also expected to, debt by eliminating the need to take minimum GPA of 2.5, and show that “continue existing investments in out loans for the first two years of they are making progress towards higher education; coordinate high college” and “could offer states the their degree in a timely manner. opportunity to reStudents can either invest dollars saved embark on a pathway (Photo Courtesy of: into their universities.” that allows them to earn “Here at MSJC we half of the academic say that we take the credit they need for a top 100%, which is four-year degree, or they everybody, but the can earn a certificate reality is that not or two-year degree to everybody is able to prepare them to enter come,” said Ted Blake, the workforce. an English professor at The president also MSJC Menifee Campus. proposed the American “Making [college Technical Training free] is huge. I always Fund “to expand question who are the innovative, high quality Einsteins and Steve Jobs technical training Tom Hanks announces support for Obama’s plan saying: out there who never get programs(…)that meet “I owe it all to Community College” the chance to receive an employer needs and education.” help prepare more schools, community colleges, and “My only reservation about Americans for better paying jobs.” four-year institutions to reduce the making college free is that sometimes “By 2020, an estimated 35 percent need for remediation and repeated if something is free, students don’t of job openings will require at least a courses, and allocate a significant value it as deeply as they might. I bachelor’s degree and 30 percent will portion of funding based on know when classes were cheaper, require some college or an associate’s performance, not enrollment alone.” we had a lot of students come here degree,” the White House states. The weeks following the launch and not take it seriously,” said Blake, In order to meet the fast of this proposal have generated a who is also the LRC coordinator and approaching demands of the spirited conversation amongst the Student Success Activity Coordinator. workforce and adequately prepare public. Much of the conversation “As classroom sizes and prices Americans for better paying jobs, has centered around the idea of increased, it seemed like students were making community college free for “free” education and that it is an a little bit more engaged,” he added. two years is an ideal venue since “ exaggerated sales pitch to prospective forty percent of college students are community college students. enrolled at one of America’s more President Patricia McGuire of On which side of the argument do than 1,100 community colleges, which Trinity Washington University in you stand? offer students affordable tuition, open Washington, D.C. expressed the false Submit an opinion piece to admission policies, and convenient advertising embedded in Obama’s thetalonsubmissions@gmail. locations,” the White House states. plan in her Huffington Post article, com If put into action, the America’s “‘Free’ Community College: Gift

PELL GRANT | 5 Continued from page 2 >>

2012, and invests $4.1 billion in new surplus funding that Senator Harkin believes will be sufficient to ensure the Pell does not face any significant funding gap in fiscal year 2016.” The grant works like an entitlement program, meaning that everyone who qualifies is awarded money—whether it is in the budget or not. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the surplus today will become a deficit by 2017. The Federal Pell Grant Program, which “is more important than ever for students struggling to afford a college education,” has been under attack since 2011. During the fall of 2011 and 2012, Congress cut the Pell Grant Program by more than $50 billion over 10 years. Maria Gallucci reported in The International Business Times that, “The outgoing senator [Harkin] CLUB ADVERTISEMENT

touted the plan as a win for the Pell program, since it increases the maximum grant value by $100, to $5,830 a year.” Current students will get a raise in their Pell Grant funding, however future students may have to find other ways to cover the cost of college once the surplus from the program dries up. The Department of Education owns or guarantees 90 percent of the student loans, with over $1 trillion currently outstanding. Instead of handling the loan servicing directly, the department hires companies to do it for them. Navient Corp, formerly of Sallie Mae, and Nelnet Inc. are two such companies. Both companies have been the targets of student advocacy groups that criticize them for poor customer service, misleading students about their loans and repayment options, and, in the case of Navient, for cheating active duty troops out of nearly $60 million. Currently, the student loan default

rate is up to 23 percent, a possible side effect of receiving poor customer service or misleading information. Sen. Harkin proposes to use $269 million of the Pell Grant cuts to pay these companies for better customer service and to decrease the default rate. Alyssa Gregory, third year Nursing and Science major, has benefited from receiving a Pell Grant while attending MSJC, and questions the justification of Harkin’s proposed plan. “I don’t think this is a solution. Forcing students to take out more loans so that the government can pay off loan companies will benefit the businesses more than the students,” Gregory said. “A lot of students go to community college because they do not have a surplus of money, so every little bit of financial aid helps. As the Pell awards grow increasingly smaller, the stress of money will grow greater on students who need all the help they can get.”




ave you gotten your Hogwarts letter yet? No? Didn’t think so. While some of us are still waiting to be whisked away to a distant land, there are several MSJC students who sought out their own magical adventure through studying abroad. Last fall, Kelsi Kessler, Liberal Arts major, was ready for an adventure of her own. When she heard about the Study Abroad Program at MSJC, Kessler was thrilled to have the opportunity to make another journey “across the pond.” “I went to England my senior year in high school and fell in love with it! I was there for two weeks and just couldn’t get enough,” says Kessler. “All the history that’s there is amazing. When you’re walking through London, you’re just thinking that there was a time when

Were you more nervous or excited to take your solo voyage? I packed two weeks before, so I was definitely excited! But, once the date for departure came closer, I was getting a little nervous. But I was determined to get out of my comfort zone, which was my personal goal. I decided that going back to London would help me grow as a person, become more independent, and maybe make it a little easier to communicate with people.

Shakespeare walked these same streets.” In partnership with the Southern California Foothills Consortium, MSJC is able to send eager students overseas to study in Salamanca, Spain during the spring or London, England in the fall. For just over two months, students get the opportunity to immerse themselves into a completely different culture, learn to navigate foreign lands, and take unique courses that count towards their undergraduate degrees. It’s been two months since her return and Kelsi still dreams of places to explore when she makes her next appearance among the cobblestone streets of London. But before her next expedition, Kessler found some free time to talk to The Talon and share some of her tips and experiences while studying abroad.

Did you get to meet your roommates before you left the States?

Were you and your roommates able to get to know some of the locals?

Nope, we all met each other right when we got there. But I liked going in and not knowing anybody. Which is not something I’m usually into, but it was fun! It was like having four sisters! We did almost everything together and they’re some of my best friends now; so it’s definitely a place you can make lifelong friends.

We tried to! But we were actually told that the Brits get intimidated when there’s a large group of Americans. Which is interesting, but the British did tend to be much more reserved in comparison to Americans. Like when you’re on the train, no one talks at all. It’s dead silent.

FEATURE | 7 How difficult was it to balance your schoolwork and fun in the city? It was a little hard. I would try to do my homework when I got home, but a lot of the time I would just finish it the night before. Normally, I like to focus on school, but when I was there I didn’t want to stay inside. I mean, I’m in London! My roommates would make it a little easier though- we would do work together, blast some music, and just kept each other on track. What did you do to immerse yourself in the British culture? My friends and I actually went to a soccer game between the Tottenham Spurs and Southhampton Saints. It was so crazy, but so fun! Fans are so dedicated and will actually get into fights on the stands- so that definitely gave us a better feel of the culture. I also went to a Guy Fawkes celebration*. From October to November, tiny villages outside the city have bonfires and fireworks every weekend. People march up and down the streets with old fashioned kerosene torches, light up a large bonfire, and have a massive fireworks show. I like to say that the fireworks were better than Disneyland. *Guy Fawkes Night is an annual remembrance celebrated in observance of the failed Gunpowder Plot on Nov 5, 1605 to assassinate King James I.

What was one of your favorite places that you visited?

Did you pick up on any of the British lingo?

The British library was one of my favorites. They had the original copy of a Beatles’ composition in an archive room, an original Jane Austen manuscript, Mozart compositions, the Magna Carta, and one of the only full versions of the Bible. It was so interesting to see.

Little words that would normally be considered universal, aren’t. You know how we say movies? They say “the cinema.” They say “toilet” or “loo” for the bathroom and have different lingo for clothes, so you have to be careful with that. Pants are underwear and trousers are jeans. Everything sounds more proper, yet they curse every other word! What are a few general tips you’d give to people who want to study abroad? Don’t pack more than you need, be prepared for a culture shock, and just enjoy every minute of it because it flies by! The tourist stuff is fun, but if you can step into their culture, it gives your adventure a more authentic feeling. And definitely do not assume the food is the same as here! It’s just not as flavorful! But just enjoy all of it. Do you think this experience helped you grow as a person? Yeah. I’m still a little quiet and a shy, but I’m definitely more open to talk to people. I also feel that I’m more independent and have gained a new view of the world. We all know there are a bunch of different cultures in the U.S., but when you’re actually able to experience another way of life you’re a little more understanding of them. It’s amazing to see what’s on another side of the world.

For more info. on the Study Abroad Program, visit


Wednesday, February 4

“First Pitch” on a Fresh Field BY DANIELLE CARTER TRIPP

NEW SOFTBALL FIELD ATTRACTS CROWD FOR HOME GAME MSJC’s softball team claimed their territory by dominating in their inaugural game on the new field at Menifee Valley Campus. Outfitted in their new warmup apparel, jerseys, and cleats, the Lady Eagles made an impressive entrance onto their fresh field before defeating the Barstow Community College Vikings in a non-conference game. Team captain Laekyn Causey (OF) said, “Having our own home field feels great; it has been long awaited.” And indeed it has. For over 13 years, Lady Eagles have practiced and played their home games at Valley Wide Facilities in Menifee, Winchester, and Aldergate Park. “We greatly appreciate the years of support and collaboration with both Menifee Wheat Field and Winchester Ball fields directed by Vince Valdez. This is a supportive community and our gratitude goes out to Valley Wide Park and Recreation District,” said Gina Oliver, Head Coach of MJSC’s women’s softball since 2001. In addition to a new field, the Lady Eagles have been benefiting from the establishment of a team locker room and a team exercise room. Due to the efforts of

the athletic director, Patrick Springer, the access to these athletic facilities will assist student athletes in training and preparing for transfer to university softball programs. The home field for the Lady Eagles softball was supported from the very beginning, as evidenced with a “5-0 vote by the Board of Trustees,” according to Ann Motte, MSJC Board of Trustees President.

“Playing on a home field creates a sense of school pride and tradition.” – Coach Oliver “Coaches, staff and athletes had some input into the design [of the new complex]” Motte continued, “$192,000 from the Capital Construction Fund was utilized to complete the project.” Trustee Tom Ashley shared with The Talon his hopes for the field, stating “Perhaps, with coaches’ approval, the field may be used to develop new incoming talent. Maybe some high school tournament play could occur to get softball players interested in the MSJC program.”

Coach Oliver had the honor of throwing the first ceremonial pitch of the game. The excitement of the unveiling continued throughout the game with the Lady Eagles concluding the first inning with a strong lead of 11-0. The talented and highly energetic Lady Eagles ended the game with a final score of 19-3 with17 hits, and tremendous mound appearances by pitchers Jena Chilson (P/INF) and Sierra Falcon (P/UTL). “We put all of our 2014 summer and fall semester training and preparation to the test today, and we dominated the game against Barstow College,” said Oliver. “The inauguration event and festivities went very well, and I am very proud to coach these student-athletes in the 2015 season.”

Photo Credits: Renzy Reyes




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MSJC women’s basketball team emerged victorious in a crucial conference game against the Palomar Comets. Johnette Brown led the game with a notable 11 rebounds and 10 free-throws, contributing 22 points to the final score of 73-68.

“This game was important for us because now we can win conference. If we win the rest of our games, we will tie with Palomar for conference.” –Johnette Brown

Eagle Men’s Basketball Dunks: Mesa Crumbles BY DANIELLE CARTER TRIPP Friday, January 23

Isaiah Jones (Center, 0)

During a home game against San Diego Mesa, MSJC men’s basketball team claimed an impressive win resulting in a final score of 102-71. Prior to overcoming Mesa, the Eagles completed a 3-win streak, winning their last two games against Miramar and Grossmont. San Diego entered the competition with a (5-12) record vs MSJC’s (14-6) record. Isaiah Jones (Center) expressed the joy of the Eagles’ win stating, “It really feels good, especially at home, when every player gets to play a part and we come out victorious.”

Game attendees witnessed remarkable slam dunks from Eagle players Samuel Williams (Forward) and Isaiah Jones (Center), as well as a succession of 3-pointers on behalf of Donte Walker (Guard). The final tally reflected the efforts of each of the 12 Eagles who were suited up for the game; each player scoring at least once during the course of the night. A notable 9 points were scored from Nikko Turner, Traonte Jones, and Tre Hunter. “It was really fun to watch everybody get 3 and 2 pointers,” Isaiah Jones said. “We play as a team, stick together, and play good defense so all can end well for us. This is only one game in the books so we have to play harder next game. The Eagles are talented, and we have to continue to play good defense and remain humble.”


PTK Honors Society December marked the annual Holiday Food and Toy Drive hosted by MSJC’s Beta Delta Omega chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. In an effort to better San Jacinto and its surrounding communities, Beta Delta Omega officers and volunteers distributed food to 63 financially challenged families and delivered toys to over 200 children for the holidays.

The Beta Delta Omega chapter was supported by a $2,000 donation from Paloma High School’s ROTC program, 100 toys from the Soboba Casino, a large quantity of food from Albertson’s, and cash donations from MSJC professors. With the success from last year’s Drive, Beta Delta Omega hopes to continue serving the community.

PTK members & volunteers join forces for their annual Food & Toy Drive

Communications Club Communication: one of the strongest assets in the world. No matter what nationality a person is, what language they speak, or major they pursue, the ability to communicate is one of the best tools one can have at their disposal. The Communications Club knows this all too well, which is why we dedicate ourselves to nurturing and developing the communication skills of the student body. We promise intellectual stimulation, the strength and will to speak your mind, and the discipline and knowledge to speak effectively. ADVERTISEMENT

The club has fantastic goals in mind this spring semester, and greatly encourages collaborations with other clubs and organizations on campus, as well as a growing involvement within the community. The world has benefited immensely from the exchange of ideas and viewpoints. Why not share yours and listen to the ideas of others every Tuesday from 12:30-1:30 PM in RM.479 at MVC. In the words of the great Vulcan proverb, “infinite diversity in infinite combinations.”

The Talon meets Thursday’s from 12:30-2:00pm in room 417 (MVC). Join us.


SCIENCE CLUB The MSJC Political Science club works to expand student knowledge and participation in politics at local, state, and national levels. We host events including speakers from the community, voter education campaigns, political debates, as well as film showings regarding current events. Whether you are a Political Science major or you just want to be informed, join us! Our next meeting is on Tuesday, Feb 17th at MVC in RM 408, 12:30-1:30pm.


TR AVEL AND TE ACH ENGLISH ABROAD! The Program This 120-hour certificate program focuses on best practices used to teach English as a Second/Foreign Language. Highlights include: • Hands-on training and practice with English language learners in university setting • Professional development and guidance in finding employment in the field


Join us for our weekly meetings!

• Summer: 6-week Intensive Daytime Program • Fall: 15-week Evening Program • Spring: 15-week Evening Program

CONTACT US Andrew Foulk: Kane Willette: Dr. Roy Mason, Advisor:

Call 760-750-3200 or email for more information.




DROPBOX It’s Sunday night or Monday morning and your laptop crashes. You lose your 10 page paper you spent hours slaving over. This nightmare of a scenario is all too real for college students across the board. Prevent this terrifying scenario by downloading the Dropbox app, which allows for you to keep your documents on the go and with you at all times. You can then access your documents from the app on any computer, smartphone, or tablet. Nifty, isn’t it?


Have you ever shown up to your class only to find out it was cancelled for the day? Or, is it a necessity for you to stay in contact with your professors and classmates? Although this app isn’t free, it’s a great investment if you’re one of those people who sends and/ or receives frequent emails, often from different email accounts. Rather than frantically checking each email account, from Gmail to Yahoo, simply filter them all to one handy digital location. With the help of Mail+, just maybe you’ll know when class is cancelled next time.

Do you learn best with flashcards, or do you just want to save some money and paper? If so, this app is for you. Instead of resorting to archaic pen and papers, you now have the option to keep virtual flashcards with you on the go, at any time. The only drawback is that you can’t use these flashcards for your speeches in class.

SELF CONTROL Sometimes, checking Facebook and watching random (but adorable) cat videos on YouTube just seems like a more attractive option than writing a paper. If you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably fallen victim to the deadly habit of procrastination. Well, if you have a MacBook computer, then you’re in luck. The SelfControl app allows you to block any distracting website of choice for however long you desire. In the span of time it has taken you to procrastinate, you could’ve been that much closer to finishing your dreaded assignment or studying for your exam.

EASY BIB Unless you’re a works cited enthusiast, then you probably dislike the process of creating bibliographies. Make the process less burdensome with the EasyBib app, which creates accurate MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations for you. Simply scan your book’s bar code or type in its title, and you have a citation within the matter of seconds. Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?


As college students, we all know how expensive textbooks can be. Why spend $150 on a textbook when you can get it for a lower price elsewhere? Chances are that you won’t need all your textbooks after the semester ends anyways. Granted, SlugBooks isn’t an app, but it’s a website where you can compare prices between a wide variety of online websites, such as Chegg and Amazon, which sell or rent the books out to students. Simply search for the textbook by ISBN or title, and you’ll see the cheapest version of your book in virtually no time. Thirty dollars for a book rather than my entire last paycheck? I’ll take it!

STUDIOUS There are two people you don’t want to be while you’re in school; that person who comes to class without their assignment, or that person whose phone goes off during a lecture, over and over again. Although a few seconds doesn’t make much of a difference in finishing your assignment on time, a few crucial seconds of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off ” blasting from your phone in a full classroom can seem to last an eternity. Save the anxiety attacks and download the Studious app, which allows you to silence your cellphone’s ringer specifically during your set class times and even reminds you about upcoming tests and assignments. Don’t worry, with the Studious app, these are two problems that you can definitely “shake off.”


Profile for Mt. San Jacinto College Talon

February Issue - The Talon  

The Talon is a student publication of Mt. San Jacinto College. The paper serves 15,000 students and strives for journalistic excellence in t...

February Issue - The Talon  

The Talon is a student publication of Mt. San Jacinto College. The paper serves 15,000 students and strives for journalistic excellence in t...

Profile for msjctalon

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