Emmanuel Students Advocate Financial Aid at the State House
March 01, 2010
Emmanuel College students Hillary Blakeney '13 and Jane Lothrop '11 joined Senior Assistant Director of Student Financial Services Vy Doan and Assistant Director of Student Financial Services Stephanie Rege at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts' (AICUM) "Student Financial Aid Day," held at the Massachusetts State House on February 24th. The purpose of the event was to advance the advocacy of independent colleges in terms of the importance of need-based financial aid, as Massachusetts is the only state in the nation where more students attend private than public colleges and universities; students who still need the states help with tuition.
The day began with welcome messages from AICUM President Richard Doherty, State Senator Benjamin Downing and Representative Marie St. Fleur. Each of them encouraged the students to make the most of their visit to the State House and gave them tips on the best way to make their case for increased financial aid.
Nearly 150 participants from 28 colleges across the state, including students, financial aid professionals and government relations staff, personally visited Massachusetts legislative offices to thank legislators for their past support for need-based financial aid and to urge them to do more in this year's budget.
The day provided Emmanuel's Blakeney and Lothrop direct contact with their representatives and senators, as well as the representatives of the College's district, in order to stress how important it is to fund financial aid. It also allowed for legislatures to connect the face of a constituent from Emmanuel College to a line item in the budget, so that the issue of financial aid remains prominent as they designate the funds.
"I found the experience to be very rewarding," said Lothrop. "It was nice to see the State House and meet the people who advocate for our education and financial aid."
"As students, we often look past the fact that our senators and state representatives actually do care about what we are doing and about our opinions and it was great to see the impact that we can have," said Blakeney. "It is essential for them to know how their decisions, especially regarding the budget for state financial aid, will affect students across the country and the decision to continue their education."