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Free College Tuition for Eagle Scouts and Gold Award

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  • Free College Tuition for Eagle Scouts and Gold Award

    Our fine state is considering free tuition to public universities for resident Eagle Scouts and Girl Scout Gold Award recipients. Any other states offer this amazing benefit?

    "Maryland House Bill 296 seeks to grant for Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and Eagle Scouts an exemption from tuition and mandatory fees at public institutions of higher education. To be eligible for this grant, the Girl Scout or Eagle Scout must meet the in-state residency requirement of the particular public institution that she or he wishes to attend."

    I hope it passes!

  • #2
    I've actually been on this since Tuesday. If it passes, it will be challenged immediately because atheist boys have no way to get this tax-paid college tuition, solely due to their religious views, which would make the bill unconstitutional on its face. The BSA's religious discrimination is enough to kill it, and any similar arrangements using public tax money in other states.

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    • #3

      That's great! I hope it passes as well!

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      • #4
        I have three eagles, ages 15, 18, and 21. What do you think my opinion is on this?(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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        • #5
          I know of Eagle scholarships available at universities (University of Louisville gives out several Eagle scholarships from an endowment each year), but I've never heard of a state doing it. I'm sure it will not sit well with the left or the ACLU folks.

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          • #6
            In this state it would be ruled unconstitutional by state constitution standards, not even making to it to the federal level. It sounds like a typical grandstanding, no hope of passing, I want to pander type bill.

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            • #7
              I think the ACLU may have a tougher time fighting this than what they think.

              How is an Eagle Scout/Gold Award full ride scholarship different than a son or daughter of a Medal of Honor winner attending West Point for free? I realize that everyone attends West Point for free, but the sons/daughters of Medal of Honor winners are the only ones guaranteed admission.

              How is this different from Affirmative Action, or race-based scholarships?

              I applaud the move.

              Unc.

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              • #8
                I don't think it can be done either. It's different from the child of a Medal of Honor winner, because it's benefitting a member of a private organization with restrictive membership requirements. It would be like saying that (for example) the state will give free tuition to the highest-scoring students on a religious test given by the ABC Church to its members.
                I agree that this is the kind of legislation that is floated so conservatives can condemn the people who point out that it is illegal. Note: can the state give race-based scholarships any more?

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                • #9
                  How is an Eagle Scout/Gold Award full ride scholarship different than a son or daughter of a Medal of Honor winner attending West Point for free? I realize that everyone attends West Point for free, but the sons/daughters of Medal of Honor winners are the only ones guaranteed admission.

                  There is no religious discrimination involved in the latter; since atheists can't be eagle scouts, there is inherent religious discrimination in tax-funded eagle scout scholarships.

                  How is this different from Affirmative Action, or race-based scholarships?

                  No religious discrimination there, either. AA requires that current policies be narrowly tailored to address past discrimination or increase diversity, so unless you can show that colleges have been systematically denying scholarships or admissions to scouts, you can't point to AA as justification.

                  The Boy Scouts are a private, discriminatory, religious organization. It should be pretty obvious that the state can't decide to use public tax money to pay for college for its members.

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                  • #10
                    I'd love to see Eagles honored in ways like this more often.

                    Problem is, Merlyn's right. There's no way this is a fair and open use of tax dollars. Could the state give scholarships to kids who do well at Vacation Bible School? Earners of Religious Emblems? Can Maryland justify leaving it up to the BSA as to whom is eligible to earn state sponsored scholarships?

                    As much as we'd like to see Eagles and other scouts receive additional honors, benefits and awards -- it's pretty clear -- this wouldn't be bending rules, it would be breaking rules.

                    There are a couple of reasons why a state legislator would try such a move, but the BSA ought to stand up, say thank you, but no thanks. I don't think we can be organizationally selective about when we want to be a private group and when we want to be a "public" group.

                    jd

                    Is mhagar from Maryland? What do we do when he wins a scholarship? What does the state do when he applies for the scholarship????

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                    • #11
                      JD: "Problem is, Merlyn's right."
                      Yep, and it kills me to say it too (Grin).


                      Seems to me that a Eagle shouldn't need this kind of support any how.

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                      • #12
                        Many schools offer many different types of scholarships. Some of them are paid for by private money, others by public money.

                        The key is who is paying.

                        Now, there is a way around this for Maryland, or so it seems to me. They could create a system that gives free tuition to anyone that recieves any number of different types of awards. As long as there are awards on the list available to aethiests I think it would probably fly. I personally have no idea what award there is that an aethiest can earn that is even vaguely like the Eagle, but I am sure there is one out there some place.

                        I should say that I personally support the idea of scholarships being made available to Eagle and Gold Award recipients. I would also support scholarships being made available to those that recieve a variety of other major awards from both private and public entities. The currently short an narrow lists of GPA, SAT scores, and athletics are not very well rounded lists of reasons for awarding scholarships. Awards given for showing leadership and citizenship would seem to me to be a good start in expanding the offerings.

                        As for the idea of BSA disavoying this, that would be very uncharacterist. After all, this is not a benefit being offered to BSA, so BSA has no right to refuse it. It is a benefit being offered to certain individuals who once were or still are members of the BSA. BSA has no right to turn something like this down on their behalf.

                        Oh, one last thing. As to the issue of race based scholarships, there are still institutions that grant preferences by race in publicly funded scholarships. There are even (insert selected race here) scholarships that are only available to a particular race that are at least partially backed by public funds. In one case I even know of a scholarship being made available that is available to everyone other than white people, again with at least some public funding involved. People can think that racial discrimination in the name of affermitive action is right if they want to, but I think it will one day be seen the same as racial discrimination that has been carried out for many other reasons.

                        Sorry, I forgot one thing I wanted to bring up. What about disabled people and athletic scholarships? If a person has a physical dissability then they are not going to be able to compete (in most cases) at the same level as others in athletics. So giving out athletic scholarships, while certainly discriminating against many less than great athletes, discriminates most harshly against those people with permanent dissabilities. It seems like someone would be making that into a crusade. (What benefit is there to society from athletic scholarships anywase? Do those that recieve them go on to be great researchers, or leaders in business and the community or anything like that?)(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

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                        • #13

                          Here's a news story:
                          http://www.thewbalchannel.com/news/4178329/detail.html

                          Here's the text of the bill:
                          http://images.ibsys.com/2005/0209/4178328.pdf

                          Is mhagar from Maryland? What do we do when he wins a scholarship? What does the state do when he applies for the scholarship????

                          The wording of the bill would suggest that anyone awarded Eagle Scout would be elligible; there are no qualifications apart from "is an Eagle Scout", plus residency requirements (and whatever other preexisting requirements are in current Maryland law - the bill inserts text into existing law, so it's a bit hard to tell if there are more requirements). Apparently, any Eagle Scout could move to Maryland and qualify after living there long enough.

                          As far as I can tell, the BSA doesn't rescind Eagle Scout status, so mhagar would still meet the requirements. The Randall twins would be a more interesting case, because their Eagle BOR passed them, but I don't know if the national BSA considers them Eagle Scouts.

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                          • #14
                            ...What benefit is there to society from athletic scholarships anywase?...

                            I guess you didnt notice the commotion in around the Uniersity of Southern California or the following Duke, NC and a few other college teams have. Then again, I am not sure Maryland plays basketball anyway

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                            • #15
                              OGE,

                              You must have forgotten that the University of Maryland's mens basketball team was the 2002 NCAA Champions. I think it may have been just a slip of the tongue...you obviuosly meant to say that basketball is not played (well) by any schools in Pennsylvania.(This message has been edited by SemperParatus)

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