March 23, 2010

Hamline students press their elected leaders to prevent cuts to State Grant funding

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Hamline students had some one-on-one time with Minnesota’s elected officials during the annual Day at the Capitol in Saint Paul.

The issue at the forefront of students’ minds: the forecasted shortfall in funding and possible cuts to the State Grant program, which helps more than 84,000 Minnesota students pay for college.

“The State Grant program is an integral part of a lot of students’ financial package,” Hamline University Student Congress President David McCarthy said. “We’re here to remind legislators that we’re active on our campus and in our communities and this grant is really important to a lot of students.”

Through the Minnesota Private College Council, Hamline students had the opportunity to share their personal stories with state senators and representatives. Students stressed how the State Grant helps fund their education and limits student loan debt—which they see as important for Minnesota’s future workforce.

“My family has always stressed the importance of higher education,” first-year student and State Grant recipient Lynne Chung said. “My mom just got into a serious accident and only my dad is working right now. The grant is very important to our family."

Because of the busy legislative calendar, meetings were short and often students had to pull a legislator off the floor during an active session or just leave a note if the lawmaker was not available. Students had a little more time with Hamline graduate and House Majority Leader Tony Sertich ’98 (DFL), who spoke to the students and took questions.

“As you all know, we have a huge budget deficit and a bad economy, so we’re trying to prioritize where we are making cuts,” Sertich said. “We value education, and we’re trying to keep college as affordable as possible.”

Click here to see the students in action at the Capitol.