Students Represent Moravian at State Capitol for Student Lobby Day
On April 2, five Moravian College students travelled to the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg to lobby for current and future students seeking higher education at private institutions. The trip was part of Student Lobby Day, coordinated by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP).
Student Lobby Day is a day set aside each year for the students from the AICUP’s member institutions to lobby for legislative support for private institutions of higher education. One of the primary mission goals is to educate policymakers and others about the benefits, value and quality education available at Pennsylvania’s independent colleges and universities. This educational effort is intended to secure government aid for students and institutions in the private sector.
Moravian students representing the College, as well as the United Student Government, included: Tim Semonich ’15, president; Travis Dorsa ’15, treasurer; Victoria Alupke ’17, senator; Christina Gibson ’15, secretary for success analysis; and Jacob Fritz ’16, senator. During the course of the day, students met with Pennsylvania State Representatives Doyle Heffley, Steve Samuelson and Lisa Boscola, as well as a member of the staff for Pennsylvania Senator David Argall.
The Moravian contingent was joined by President Bryon Grigsby ’90, who accompanied students for three of their appointments with legislators, as well as Pat Hanna ’82, assistant director of career development and alumni relations.
"Student Lobby Day provides an exciting opportunity for members of the United Student Government to represent their peers at the state level in support of funding for private higher education," said Hanna. "It also benefits the representatives, because when they meet face to face with the students and hear their personal stories, they truly realize the importance of the funding and the impact their vote will have on so many families in Pennsylvania."
ABOVE: Pictured (from left) are USG members Travis Dorsa ’15, Christina Gibson ’15, Tim Semonich ’15, Jacob Fritz ’16 and Victoria Alupke ’17.
ABOVE: As part of the trip, Moravian students relayed information about Governor Corbett’s budget proposal and how it affects Moravian students, as well as themselves personally.
This year the initiative asked legislators to endorse Governor Tom Corbett’s budget proposal to expand the benefits of PHEAA grants to students and their families. These requests included:
- Supporting the governor’s budget proposal to fund “Ready to Succeed Scholarship” through the PHEAA grant program at a level of $25 million.
- Maintaining PHEAA grant state funding. For 2014-2015, maintain the funding for PHEAA grants at $344.9 million with the PHEAA supplement at $85 million. Protect low and moderate income students by protecting PHEAA funding.
- Treating funding to the Institutional Assistance Grants (IAGS) like the funding for state-related institutions. Private higher education institutions in Pennsylvania only receive these funds based on the number of PHEAA eligible students. This provides an incentive to Pennsylvania private higher education institutions to enroll students with demonstrated financial need, and it leverages overmatches in private aid dollars. This funding has dropped by 43% over the past decade.
As part of the trip, Moravian students relayed information about Governor Corbett’s budget proposal and how it affects their fellow students, as well as themselves personally.
According to the College’s Financial Aid office, the proposed budget to support middle-income students and their families – through Ready to Succeed Scholarship – would support approximately 90 Moravian students. Additionally, 554 Moravian students receive PHEAA grants that range in amount from $500-$4,362 – that is 63% of the College’s student population from Pennsylvania.
Furthermore, a total of 62% of Moravian’s students hail from Pennsylvania allowing Moravian to receive approximately $300,000 in IAG funding. Without this support, Moravian students would otherwise need to borrow funding through loans causing increased liabilities after leaving college.
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