Centre students meet with legislators to discuss state-funded financial aid programs
RELEASED: February 14, 2008
In the support of continued funding for these programs, Milton Reigelman, J. Rice Cowan Professor of English; Ned Frazer, associate director of admission; and eight Centre students who receive benefits from state-funded student aid participated in the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU) Legislative Day on Wednesday, February 13, in Frankfort.
Despite a widespread blanket of ice and snow, the group made their way to the state's capitol to meet with legislators. State-funded aid programs enable the students on the trip, as well as many others, to attend Centre College without the threat of excessive loan repayments after graduation.
Kyle Longton '08, of Louisville, has depended on merit and need-based financial aid for all four years of his Centre education.
"While the College provides me with significant support, I've also received state grants," Longton says. "My KEES Scholarship money was one of the reasons I stayed in Kentucky for college, and I've been able to keep full funding all four years."
Longton says he fears that reduced funding to KEES will result in more students leaving the Commonwealth with fewer benefits for staying. He says, "We could see not only a financial drain, but also a brain drain."
This possibility is also alarming to Reigelman, who says that Kentucky spends only four percent of its educational funding on private higher education, versus 96 percent for public schools. But that small percentage is still important to Centre students who, he says, rely heavily on the Kentucky Tuition Grant program and the KEES money they've earned.
Morgan Lynn '11, of Marion, Ky., looks at the larger picture. "Student aid from the state makes it possible, and definitely easier, for students to bear the burden of rising tuition costs at private colleges," she says. "In turn, students in small liberal arts schools like Centre go on to become highly motivated, productive members of society."
According to AICKU, while aid to students attending independent schools is only four percent of the state's total spending, "Kentucky's independent colleges and universities produce about 22 percent of the state's bachelor's degrees and high percentages of the degrees most important to the state, including science and math, nursing and teaching degrees."
The students remain positive regarding the impact they might have on legislators. Barret Green '08, of Waco, Ky., says, "I believe that everyone can make a difference, no matter how big or small. It's important to put yourself out there and thank those senators and legislators who are making sure that student aid keeps being given to individuals attending private Kentucky institutions. It's also important for those individuals to see the faces of the students that they are helping."
It's the hope of these students that Kentucky legislators recognize the overwhelming benefits of continued funding to student aid for those attending private colleges and universities.
Nate Blank '08, of Frakes, Ky., says, "Liberal arts graduates are outstanding contributors to society and the state's cost for each independent student's education is only a fraction of that for a public university student. Giving more students the opportunity to earn degrees from both private and public institutions seems like an investment that transcends economics."
Centre's programs of need-based financial aid and merit scholarships are among the most generous of any top-50 ranked national college. More than 85 percent of this year's first-year student class is receiving some form of financial assistance. The average one-year aid package for first-year students receiving aid in 2006-07 was $20,400. For the class of 2010, financial aid awards ranged from $3,300 to $32,450.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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