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July 27, 2009 - Image 2

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-07-27

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2

Monday, July 27, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

PROTEST
From Page 1
approximately $140 million to
96,000 students across the state.
The bill also eliminates nearly $56
million in need-based financial aid.
Last Wednesday, Republicans in
theHouseofRepresentativesformed
a different set of bills in an attempt
to avoid using stimulus funds to
reduce the state's deficit. The plan
would keep the Michigan Promise
Scholarship but would eradicate
other scholarship and financial
aid programs such as work-study
programs and the Michigan Com-
petitive Scholarships - which are
awarded to students based on merit,
financial need and ACT scores.
MSA President Abhishek Mahan-
ti spoke to the crowd and discussed
how the combination of increasing
tuition rates and decreasing finan-
cial aid negatively impacts all fami-
lies, including his own. He said that
his family has to pay tuition bills for
him and his brother, who will be an
incoming freshman at the Univer-
sity this fall.
"Even with the in-state rates in
Ann Arbor, these costs have been
difficult to handle, and like most
families, we're trying to make it all
fit together," Mahanti said.
He added that the proposed cut
of the Michigan Promise Scholar-
ship is disturbing, and would break
a promise made to tens of thou-
sands of students who each count on
receiving as much as $4,000 in aid.
"It financially awarded high aca-
demic performance and provided
relief for families like mine that don't
qualify for financial aid but are still
felng this ni-ch" Maan+ti sad

Mary Clark, chief of staff for Rep.
Joan Bauer (D-Lansing), attended
the protest and agreed with the
student speakers. She said the gov-
ernment should honor the promise
grants because they act as incen-
tives to increase the number of col-
lege graduates in the state.
"We believe that at this criti-
cal time in Michigan's history it is
counterproductive to cut the area
that is critical to our state's econom-
ic recovery," Clark said. "We know
that the prosperity of our state and
our citizens is directly connected
to the number of college graduates
that we have in our state."
Susan Schmidt, chief of staff for
Rep. Mark Meadows (D-East Lan-
sing), said she and Meadows also
support continuing funding for the
scholarship.
"These scholarshipshelpfamilies
afford the ever-increasing tuition,
and as a mother of two college stu-
dents who go to U of M ... we are feel-
ing a direct effect by these potential
decisions," said Schmidt, addressing
the group of students from the capi-
tol steps.
Mahanti said students attend-
ing college are Michigan's greatest
assets becausethey arethe ones who
will lead the state in the future.
"Legislatures must realize that
investing in our students through
education isn't just important - it's
imperative," he said. "Education
needs to be accessible to prospective
scholars in the state of Michigan,
and by going beyond higher educa-
tion by encouraging entrepreneur-
ship and developing new businesses
within the state, we beginto reverse
this brain drain that plagues our
nation and our state."
While Thursday's protest served
ersa-Williams, '07

ARItL BOND/C
MSA Prosident Ahhishek Mahanti syeaks tooa Channel 6 reyorter at the protest.

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as an opportunity for legislators to
hear students' concerns, MSA and
ASMSU will be working together
in the coming weeks to take further
action on the issues of statewide
tuition hikes and Promise Scholar-
ship funding. ASMSU has posted
petitions on Facebook and Twitter
for all Michigan students to sign,
and leaders from both organizations
will be calling and visiting local rep-
resentatives, urging them to main-
tain higher education funding.
Ambreen Sayed, MSA chief of
staff, said she attended the event to
make the state aware that because
of the current economic situation
the government's greatest invest-
ment should be in higher education.
"When better to start investing in
the best and the brightest than right
now?" she said.
She added she came to show sup-
port for continuing the Promise
Scholarship and making sure the
state keeps on funding Michigan's
world-renowned institutions.
LSA senior Brady Smith went to
the- evebeause he .istfee with

the legislature's decision to revoke
its promise made to students in
Michigan.
He said retracting the scholar-
ships and financial aid will cause
students to attend school elsewhere
and not return to Michigan during a
time when the state needs people to
stay more than ever because of the
economic problems associated with
the automotive industries.
"Some of these manufacturing
jobs aren't coming back, but they
can be replaced with vocational and
technical training, and the fact that
we're preventing people from pur-
suing that is a big problem," Smith
said.
He added that public education
existed about 20years before Michi-
gan even became a state, considering
that the University was established
in 1817 and Michigan became a state
in 1837.
"This state has long been com-
mitted to excellent higher educa-
tion, and it's a sad day in this state
when we see that scaled back,"
Smirthsad-

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