LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Daniel J. Randall

Letter to the Editor

Dear Bengal Editor,

Idaho State University has accepted me as a non-traditional, disabled student and I am very proud to be a Bengal. Transferring in this semester required that I submit transcripts from 9 schools which I have attended in the past 26 years.

I am at a point in my life now where my bipolar disorder is well-managed and I am ready to complete my undergraduate degree (B.A. in history, minor in philosophy) and apply to law schools, as I have always wanted to be an attorney. Through this process, I have been overwhelmed with the kindness, helpfulness and good spirit everywhere on campus here in Idaho Falls and in Pocatello.

The support services are outstanding and I am very thankful for the assistance given me in every area by the administration, except for one.

ISU’s Director of Financial Services and Scholarships Mr. James Martin has denied and continues to withhold my federal financial aid award.

In the United States, all men are required to register with the Selective Service System on their 18th birthdays. My 18th birthday was November 11th, 1990. At that time, I was living on my own, working on my Eagle Scout project, working as a bank teller part time and going to school full time. I was overwhelmed and unaware at the time of my disorder, (not having been diagnosed until 2007). I was not aware of a requirement to register with the Selective Service, and had I known, I certainly would have done so.

However, because I did not register, ISU, under Director James Martin has decided to deny me my federal financial aid award. I have petitioned and appealed in every form available. ISU’s Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships Mr. James Martin and ISU’s Interim Chief Financial Officer Mr. Brian Hickenlooper repeatedly continue to deny my pleadings and sternly rebuke everyone who petitions them on my behalf.

Mr Martin has said “I don’t believe you”, and Mr. Hickenlooper refuses even to meet with me! I am writing to bring awareness to this little-known policy of ISU.

I am a proud Bengal, and I hope to graduate on time, however, due to this discriminatory policy Mr. Martin and Mr. Hickenlooper are upholding, my graduation date will only come after I pay each semester beforehand, or in payments.

This hardship is especially difficult for me since my disability prevents me from holding full-time employment and I use most of my SSDI benefits to support my 19-year-old daughter, who is also a college student.

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