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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bill earns Grijalva praise

    ASUA President Tommy Bruce presents an award to U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva yesterday in the Santa Rita room of the Student Union Memorial Center.  Grijalva was recognized for his work in making college more affordable.
    ASUA President Tommy Bruce presents an award to U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva yesterday in the Santa Rita room of the Student Union Memorial Center. Grijalva was recognized for his work in making college more affordable.

    Student leaders and members of the campus community gathered yesterday with Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva to celebrate the September passing of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

    “”The bill is important because it increases money to financial aid and cuts interest rates on student loans,”” said Tommy Bruce, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. “”Whenever I talk with students, they always say that college affordability and

    accessibility is an issue – this bill is key to helping students at the UA and in the state of Arizona.””

    The bill, which was passed early this September and was largely supported by Grijalva, is the most meaningful higher education reform to emerge in 15 years, said Diane E. Brown, executive director of the UA Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

    The legislation will provide billons of dollars toward financing additional grant aids for low-income students and lower student loan debt, Brown said.

    To avoid raising taxes, the bill is financed through lowered subsidies to private banks.

    “”I think we took a big crack at the rock,”” Grijalva said. “”College is one of the greatest equalizers in the world and it should be accessible and affordable for everyone. The American people must reinvest in these institutions – we must recommit to be stronger, better, and more preeminent in this world.””

    Bruce joined student members of PIRG and Arizona Board of Regents President Fred Boice as speakers at the event, which ran from 12:15-2 p.m. in the Santa Rita room of the Student Union Memorial Center.

    After receiving an award for his efforts in increasing financial aid, Grijalva thanked the UA’s PIRG chapter for being the most effective group of lobbyists for the bill.

    “”They came from every corner of the nation,”” Grijalva said.

    Boice showed a short video about the future of U.S. education with regard to cost.

    “”As far as where America is, and where America is going, this bill is a step in the right direction,”” Boice said. “”Every student in Arizona is entitled to an education – that has to happen.””

    Prabjit Virdee, a psychology senior, attended the party to congratulate and thank Grijalva, as well as the students who helped get the bill passed.

    “”I’m graduating in December, but this bill will really help future students,”” Virdee said. “”College is important and it definitely is an equalizer. All students who want to go should be able to come and experience it.””

    The UA chapter of PIRG, which began in September, hopes to continue helping students financially through activities like student loan debt awareness campaigns, said Brian Mori, a PIRG intern and a junior majoring in English and pre-law.

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