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Letter to the University Community About Proposed Cal Grant Cuts

To the Pacific Community;

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed drastically reducing Cal-Grant awards to students who attend private nonprofit schools like Pacific. We are asking your help in sending a strong message to the governor and the state legislature that this proposal is unacceptable.

Gov. Brown's 2012-2013 state budget proposal cuts Cal Grants by 44 percent - from $9,708 to $5,472 - for students at private nonprofit colleges and universities. His proposal would immediately impact nearly one-third of all Pacific undergraduates, including more than 60 percent of all Latino students and more than 40 percent of all other minority students. Overall, Pacific students could lose up to $5.7 million in financial aid. Many of those students will be unable to afford the cost of college without the full Cal Grant.

Brown has said that he is targeting Cal Grants for students at private institutions in an effort to address California's budget problem. But recently, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office  reached the opposite conclusion. The LAO found that the proposed reductions would push more students to an already burdened public university system where it costs the state more to educate a student...thus increasing the state's costs.

In essence, this proposal does nothing to help California's budget problem and only punishes those students who need the grants the most. We're asking all our students, faculty and staff to stand with Pacific's Cal Grant recipients and help spread the message that this proposal is a bad idea.

On March 7, 2012, California's private nonprofit colleges and universities will hold a "Save Cal Grants" rally on the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento. Pacific is chartering a bus to take students, faculty and staff to Sacramento to help change the Governor's mind.  We encourage everyone who is interested to join us.

Members of the Pacific community who wish to participate should contact Jason Velo at jvelo@pacific.edu to reserve a seat on the bus. On March 7, we will meet at the DeRosa University Center Ballroom at 7 a.m. for breakfast and a quick check-in session. Buses will leave at 7:30 a.m. for the day-long rally with students from other nonprofit schools. During the event, students will get a chance to meet with legislators to tell them why Cal Grant cuts are the wrong solution for California's future. Box lunches will be provided.

Those who can't attend can still help by "liking" the Student First Alliance Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/StudentsFirstAlliance. That page has a link to a petition that asks state lawmakers to reconsider the budget proposal. The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universitieshas also posted a "toolkit" with plenty of helpful background information.

Please support Pacific students by adding your voice to this worthy cause.

Pam Eibeck                                    Ashton Datcher
University President                      ASUOP President