Students needed to help keep Mac accessible

By Sue Xiong and Amy Phenix

Whether or not you are one of the nearly two thirds of Mac students who receive financial aid, you benefit from our economically diverse student body. Just as those students from other religious traditions, countries, or ethnic backgrounds contribute to the student experience, so do those from various economic backgrounds. If you value economic diversity at Macalester , we need your help at the State Capitol.

Join us next Thursday, March 4, for the annual Day at the Capitol, when we will ask legislators to support funding for the Minnesota State Grant Program, a very important source of student aid for low-income Minnesota families. The commitment is small: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Mac will buy you lunch, provide transportation, and faculty have been asked to excuse participating students from class.

At Macalester, more than 100 students receive financial aid through the State Grant Program. Statewide, 80,000 students receive support from the program. If funding for this program is reduced, students, families and colleges will have to make up the difference.

This legislative session we are calling on policymakers to preserve the core of the State Grant program.

Doing so however will be difficult. Both state government and the grant program are facing massive deficits. According to the Minnesota Private College Council, the State Grant Program deficit would rise to more than $44 million under the administration’s proposed budget cut. If these reductions pass, more than 9,000 students statewide will lose grants and the average size of the remaining grants will drop 18.5 percent.

Hundreds of college students are coming to the capitol this year to meet with their legislators and share the impact of the State Grant program. Be one of them!

Hearing from students is a key ingredient to helping policymakers understand the importance of preserving State Grant funding.

To participate in Day at the Capitol or get more information, go to the Civic Engagement Center Web site at: macalester.edu/cec/.

If you aren’t able to make it to the Capitol, but want to help, contact Sue or Amy.

Sue is Macalester’s College Access Coordinator at the Civic Engagement Center and can be reached at [email protected] Amy is Macalester’s Communications and Public Relations Director and can be reached at [email protected]