I walked into Walmart recently to purchase some groceries. As I entered the store I passed a young couple. At a glance I noticed a 50” television set and about ten to 12 Xbox games in the cart.
What I heard then from the young man appalled me. The young man, strutting to the check-out line, leaned to who I assume was his girlfriend and said: “I just got this refund check and I’ve already spent half of it at Walmart!”
Over the past week, many students across the country received their long-awaited financial aid refund check. Some got $200, some got $2,000 after tuition and fees were extracted.
Most use the aid to pay for rent, purchase textbooks or pay off loans. Some found themselves in Walmart and other retail stores on a shopping spree... with stolen funds.
This young man may have been referring to a variety of “refunds” that one might receive.
However, his companion’s response of “Yeah, and you still haven’t gotten any books!” assured me that he was referring to financial aid; the same financial aid refund that I and many others recently received.
Immediately, feelings of disbelief, disgust, and discomfort pierced through me.
I thought of my mother who has worked tirelessly since she was 18, at times barely making ends meet while paying a 15-20% tax rate.
I thought of my grandfather who may never retire because he is paying 15-25% to the government, instead of into savings.
Them and millions more paying taxes year after year, and for what? For this young man to purchase a new luxurious TV and to waste time playing games instead of studying?
This person represents much more than one guy at Walmart. He represents the few in society who notoriously ‘milk the system.’
They lead the government to believe they need assistance to survive college and accept funds from families all across this nation, just to buy the luxuries that some of those families can’t afford for themselves.
Cases like this and more are pointed out each year by the media. To the disadvantage of many of my peers, they are frequently used to paint all students as frivolous and unappreciative.
I know those assumptions are not true, because 90% of my collegiate peers are the most fiscally conservative and overly thankful human beings that I know.
For those of us who are able to close the gap for college expenses with financial aid, we need to express our appreciation to millions of taxpayers.
We need to stand up and disallow a few to outweigh the many who struggle each semester to achieve the American Dream.
We need to tell our story and make sure that a few guys at Walmart don’t keep stealing funds and ruining financial aid.