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WPU College Republicans Lobby at the Capitol March 26, 2009

Posted by wpucrs in Uncategorized.

Eight William Penn College Republicans traveled to the Iowa State Capitol on March 19th to lobby on behalf of the Iowa Tuition Grant.  The effort was made in conjunction with the William Penn, Briar Cliff, and the Buena Vista University Student Governments to address proposed cut to the grant by Governor Chet Culver (D).

The Iowa Tuition Grant is given to students from Iowa who are planning on attending one of the many private universities in the state.  The grant is given on a basis of individual need and provides students from Iowa with $4,000 toward their tuition.  Under President Obama’s stimulus plan the state of Iowa received roughly 380 million dollars toward education.  Before the stimulus money was distributed out to the states, Governor Culver proposed a 6.5% cut to the Iowa Tuition Grant which was on top of a 2% cut that was already implemented into the budget for the upcoming year.  Overall, under the recommendation by the governor’s office the ITG would be slashed by over 8.5% which would be an average of $400 to each student receiving the grant.

With that in mind, the three regent Universities and the community colleges in the state have similar grant programs that were also going to be cut before the stimulus package was distributed.  However, the three regent schools and Iowa’s community colleges will not have to worry about another 6.5% cut because the Governor has suggested that some of the stimulus money for education in Iowa be used to fund the proposed cuts.  To put things in perspective, the Iowa Tuition Grant is asking for $5 million dollars from the stimulus package while the regents are getting over $50 million and the community colleges are receiving $15 million for their grant programs.

Our efforts at the Capitol looked to find further information on why the ITG is being ignored.  After talking to over 20 members of the Iowa House and Senate only one Democrat, Rep. Eric Palmer (D) Oskaloosa, was up front with us about his support to fund the ITG.  Rep. Palmer is a WPU graduate and understands how serious a cut in the ITG would be for the financial stability of Iowa’s private Universities.  On the other side of the aisle, every single Republican we talked to supported funding the ITG with the stimulus money.  However, we got the impression that they were being left out of key budget discussions.  We must take time to thank two of the Republicans that helped us significantly, Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley (R) from Chariton and Rep. Rich Arnold (R).

In the past two years, fiscal responsibility in Iowa has been non-existent and now the state is facing a significant deficit.  Plain and simple it is a matter of priority and the governor’s office seems to believe the ITG is not a priority.

Governor Culver made a promise when he was elected to keep graduates from our colleges and universities in the state of Iowa once their education has been completed.  Yet, graduates from Iowa’s private universities stay in the state once their education is complete at a rate of 65%.

We continue to urge our representative s in Des Moines to fund the 6.5% cut that would be made to the Iowa Tuition Grant with 5 million of the 380 million dollars given to Iowa in the stimulus package that is set aside primarily for education.

          Nik Rule, Chairman WPU College Republicans



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