Biola sends students and faculty to lobby against Cal Grant cuts
Students joined together at the Capitol on March 9, 2012 to fight for their Cal Grant funding. The governor's proposed fiscal budget will reduce the amount given to students in private universities which is keeping students in school. | Sarah Seman/THE CHIMES
The chant “fund students first” rose from the steps of the capitol on March 7 where 26 Biola students joined with more than 200 others who could lose 40 percent of their grant money if the Cal Grant cut is made.
Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2012-13 fiscal budget would reduce the grant at independent nonprofit institutions, as opposed to state schools, from $9,708 to $5,473 per student each year. Students from 31 schools across the state merged together to try to sway the legislature’s decision against the cut. The lobby was organized by The Student’s First Alliance together with the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. President Dr. Barry Corey currently serves on the executive Board of AICCU and Lisa N. Douglass, vice president for external affairs, stated that she personally advocated for him to join the board, highly valuing both his level of integrity and his forward thinking.
Biola students, along with a few members in admissions, financial aid and university communications and marketing, left La Mirada on Tuesday and stayed in a hotel in Sacramento before the event began at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Lobbyists met in the morning in a church near the capitol and heard the logistics of the proposed cut and how they could be most effective when pleading their case to the legislature.
“The warmth of your personalty will light up the capitol,” Dr. Mary Lyons, president of the University of San Diego said.
Natalie Moropoulos, a Biola freshman, stated that she has been wanting to go to Biola since fifth grade and without the Cal Grant she will not be able to continue her education at the institution.
There are 834 Biola students who are Cal Grant recipients, according to Jonathan Choy, director of financial aid at Biola University. The total Cal Grant reduction would mean a loss of over $3 million for the students of the university. For many, like Moropoulos, a loss of the Cal Grant could mean additional loans or finding another institution to complete their degree.
After speaking with individual legislative members in their offices and rallying on the steps, 62 advocates filed into the assembly room and said to the budget subcommittee their opposition to the proposed Cal Grant reduction.