Six Indiana Wesleyan University students joined their counterparts from four other Indiana private, nonprofit colleges and universities on Tuesday to deliver three messages in person to legislators at the Indiana State House. The messages were:
- Sincere thanks for the legislators’ ongoing commitment to state need-based financial aid for students.
- The urgent need for their continued support of this program.
- The critical importance of increasing the number of Hoosiers with bachelor’s degrees to Indiana’s economy.
More than 1,600 IWU students – 428 residential students and 1,201 non-residential students – shared just over $6 million in Indiana state aid for college expenses during the 2013-2014 academic year.
The maximum state grant, which is for students who qualify as 21st Century Scholars, is capped at $7,570 for the 2014-2015 academic year.
IWU students who contributed to the 2015 Student Lobby Day, sponsored by the Independent Colleges of Indiana, were Clayton Soultz, Jonesboro; DeAnn Colwell, Plainfield; Chris Pinyot, Fishers; Jacqueline “Jacki” Marvel, Portage; Jordan Maure, Walkerton; and Anna Mast, Peru.
Thomas Ratliff, Associate Vice President for Financial Aid at IWU, accompanied the students.
Students from other ICI member institutions will participate in similar student lobby days on March 10 and April 7.
The students gathered Tuesday at the Indiana History Center where ICI President Richard Ludwick briefed them on current legislative issues involving state-funded, need-based student aid. The students then walked to the State House to meet their hometown legislators.
Indiana’s independent colleges and universities are a smart investment for students and the state, graduating twice as many of their students in four years as any other sector of higher education in the state. The high graduation rate costs the state less per degree because the campuses themselves receive no state funding while contributing almost $5 billion in total economic impact around the state.
“Our goal is not only to raise awareness in the legislature of the importance of state financial aid – to put students’ names and faces on the state funds they appropriate – but also to introduce our students to how the legislative process works, how it affects their lives and futures, and how they can plan a role in shaping its direction,” Ludwick said.
Independent Colleges of Indiana serves as the collective voice for the state’s 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI member institutions enroll some 100,000 students (about one-fifth of Indiana’s college students) and annually produce one-third of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana.