October 19, 2006

Middle-class familes send message to Washington

Posted in Student Loan News at 3:07 PM by Joe From Boston

Sometimes our federal government either doesn’t understand why people want something, or don’t understand that it’s a high priority on many people’s lists. It’s nice to see a grass-roots effot by average families trying to shoe Washington that financial aid is critically important to the future of this country. You can read the full article here.

“Contributed by: Dan Mahoney on 10/18/2006

Middle-class advocacy group and local residents remind Representative Bob Beauprez to expand access to higher education when he returns to D.C.

Lakewood, CO- On Monday, October 16, Communities United to Strengthen America presented a petition with several hundred signatures to Representative Bob Beauprez’s Wheat Ridge District Office urging him to vote against the 2007 federal budget proposal that would make it harder for students to pay for college by slashing billions in funding from Pell Grants, work-study and other tuition assistance programs.

Concerned students and family members have been walking door to door and calling JeffersonCounty residents on the phone in an effort to gather signatures and expand access to higher education by cutting interest rates on student loans and fully funding tuition assistance programs.

“I would not have a college education if not for affordable student loans. Now that I am an instructor at the University of Colorado-Denver it’s heartbreaking to see students who work hard in their classes and work full time and still struggle to afford books and classes,” said Harvey Bishop, a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. “These are very talented and committed students who have a lot to give society and we should be making it easier not harder for them to make that contribution.”

Colorado public university students just faced a 17 percent increase in tuition costs during the last year-the largest percentage increase in the nation. Despite rising tuition costs in Colorado, Congressman Bob Beauprez voted in favor of a $12 billion cut to student loan programs and the Bush Administration’s proposed 2007 budget is set to under fund key tuition assistance initiatives like Work-Study and Pell Grants that would deny thousands of students the assistance they need to pay for college.

The benefits of going to college go beyond just the value of an education; it can be measured in a family’s pocketbook. Over their working lives, college graduates on average earn 73 percent more than high school graduates, are less likely to be unemployed. Yet while the benefits are high, so are the costs and debt. Tuition is rising across the nation while our government’s commitment to higher education is dropping.

“Most of the students I teach at University of Colorado at Denver work full time and find themselves at the age of 21 chained to credit card debt,” said James Walsh, a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. “All of this compromises their education. Our students need help, and I’m concerned that if these trends continue, our universities will become a domain for the privileged only.”

So what are our elected officials doing about this?

Recently, President Bush proposed a 2007 federal budget that would deny thousands of Colorado student’s college assistance. Under this budget, an estimated 15,137 students in Colorado, including nearly 6,000 in the Denver Metro Area would be unable to obtain Perkins Loans or would not receive enough assistance to meet their needs to pay for college.”



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