Increasing budget cuts to the state's Cal Grant Program are having a devastating impact on students attending California's private colleges and universities.
University of the Pacific Advocates with AICCU partners to save Cal GrantWhile advocacy efforts are beginning to see growing support to repeal Cal Grant cuts, more support is needed. Let your voice be heard through AICCU's 2014 Students First Alliance campaign.
During AICCU's annual Cal Grant Lobby Day on March 11, University of the Pacific joined representatives of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) and other leading private universities in opposing cuts to the Cal Grant program enacted by the state in the 2012 Budget Act. More than 120 Cal Grant students and campus administrators convened at the Capitol. They met with nearly every Senate and Assembly office to urge the repeal of the pending Cal Grant cut and support student choice in the Cal Grant program.
These cuts will slash Cal Grant awards for incoming students to private colleges and universities for the 2014-15 academic year by 17 percent from the 2011 maximum. This budgeted change puts financially deserving, academically qualified students at risk of not being able to obtain a college degree.
Pacific Regent José Hernández along with representatives from AICCU and other leading California private universities were among those presenting at an afternoon informational briefing coordinated with Assemblyman Das Williams, chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, and Senator Carol Liu, chair of the Senate Education Committee.
Advocacy efforts are beginning to see growing support to repeal the budgeted Cal Grant award cut but it is important to keep the pressure on until the May Revise (Governor's updated budget based on April tax revenues) is released and serious budget negotiations begin by Legislative leadership, including the Governor.
Let your voice be heard
Students and others who wish to have their voices heard in advocating to maintain current Cal Grant funding can participate in a variety of ways through AICCU's 2014 Students First Alliance campaign. View video>>
Part of this year's efforts includes an online petition campaign, something that has been very effective in past years. Your participation is greatly needed. Feel free to share the link below with colleagues, friends and family - especially those who would be financially impacted by the cuts to the Cal Grant program. Since the end of February, more than 5,500 petitions have been submitted. The goal is 10,000 by May 1. Access the petition through this direct link>>
You can also show support with a "Like" on the Students First Alliance Facebook page, and you can keep up with the campaign by following on Twitter: @savecalgrants
The Cal Grant program is invaluable and a critical financial aid component for many of our students - a lifeline for them to access higher education to ensure they can continue to pursue their academic dreams. The next six weeks are critical and your continued advocacy is greatly needed.
The private, nonprofit sector of higher education in California educates more than 320,000 students and produces 20% of the state's baccalaureate degrees and more than 50 percent of the graduate/professional degrees. The importance of the private sector in California higher education cannot be understated.
For more information and background on the Cal Grant issue:
President Michael Engh (Santa Clara University), op-ed, "Cal Grant cuts will cut into California's future," ran in the Los Angeles Times.