‘We Need This Money, Don’t Cut It’

On Feb. 24, three members of California Lutheran University’s ASCLUG traveled to Sacramento to speak to local legislators in regards to voting in favor of Senate Bill 15.

The three students were senator David Curran, senator Kiana Parker and Christina Sharkey, who is on programs board.

According to Curran, Senate Bill 15 would fix the proposed 11 percent cut to Cal Grants funding students who attend private, nonprofit universities. The cut would not be applied to the funding of students attending a public University of California, California State University or California community college institution.

“Basically the state is singling out the students that go to private schools,” Curran said.

Curran said the three Cal Lutheran students met with seven legislators.

“Basically, we were telling them, ‘We need this money, don’t cut it,’” Curran said.

Jenn Zimmerman, Veterans coordinator at Cal Lutheran, accompanied the students to Sacramento for the second year in a row.

“The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities puts this together and they call it ‘A Day in the Capitol.’ Essentially, a bunch of small private institutions come together and storm the hill,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said she recognizes the importance of Cal Grants and how much the aid makes a difference to the students who receive it.

“Cal Grants are really important for our students. People kind of have that misconception that at a private university, people don’t need that funding because mom and dad are paying for everything but that’s not true,” Zimmerman said.

According to AICCU, the current amount of the Cal Grant is $9,084. The 11 percent cut would bring the Cal Grant amount to $8,056.

Junior Fernanda Barragan said she believes that a cut would make or break a student’s decision to attend a private university.

“If this had been in effect before I came to Cal Lu, I probably wouldn’t have come here. If I could pay less somewhere else, then I would probably go there so I would’ve definitely gone to a state school,” Barragan said.

Barragan said she works full time in order to be able to pay tuition. Every day she is not at school, she spends working and the days she attends school, she is in class all day.

“This would definitely affect my classes and I probably wouldn’t be doing as well because I already work full time in order to pay my tuition,” Barragan said. “My only other option would probably be an overnight job which would really affect my grades.”

According to the AICCU website, the four-year graduation rates from 2012-2013 of students attending a private institution with a Cal Grant is 62 percent, while the graduation rates of students attending them without a Cal Grant is 53 percent.

“A point that they made when we were at the capitol was we’re a private institution. We have the smaller class sizes and the classes are available. At the state schools, they can’t get into some of the classes that are required, so we’re able to educate our students faster and produce a more well-rounded student to put out in to the market and go forth and help the world,” Zimmerman said.

Barragan said it would not be fair if Cal Grants were cut for incoming students who decided to attend private school.

“They should be cut down for everyone equally. I honestly don’t think private school would be an option for a lot of people if they were cut because if they can go to Cal States and pay less, then why would they come to a private school?” Barragan said.

Curran said ASCLUG would like to start a letter writing campaign at Cal Lutheran to send the letters asking for the Cal Grant cuts to be repealed.

“Jacqui Irwin is actually the representative for the district where Cal Lu is and so she’s a very strong supporter. We talked to her, she was the last one we spoke with,” Curran said.

Zimmerman said Cal Lutheran tuition goes up about 2-4 percent every year to keep up with inflation. There are academic scholarships that Cal Lu offers but the Cal Grant is great free money that is available to anyone who graduated from a California high school.

“I think Cal Grants are an important part of students’ success here on campus and it’s really important that our future students are able to keep that benefit,” Zimmerman said.

Amber Rocha
Staff Writer
Published March 11, 2015