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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students march in Phoenix to fight for more state aid

    PHOENIX – About 50 students marched at the state Capitol yesterday to rally support from legislators for state financial aid.

    Chanting and holding up signs that read “”Yeeha, fund financial aid,”” and “”Arizona loves AFAT,”” the crowd drew the attention of several officials who stopped to listen.

    The event was organized by the Arizona Students’ Association in hope of reaching a $13.4 million goal toward the Arizona Financial Aid Trust, the only form of state financial aid.

    Students provide 1 percent of resident undergraduate tuition toward the fund and the state must match twice that amount.

    The $13.4 million also would provide extra money to offset rising tuition, which has increased by 70 percent during the last five years.

    “”While the cost of higher education continues to rise in Arizona, financial aid has failed to keep pace,”” said ASA board chair Devin Mauney. “”I hope that legislators will listen to the student voices that were at the Capitol today.””

    Several lawmakers spoke out at the event, including Rep. David Schapira, D-Tempe, who is a former Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University student and also brought a megaphone to help students chant.

    “”Financial aid is extremely important,”” Schapira said. “”I see it as one of my biggest jobs down here to fight for affordable higher education.””

    The welfare of Arizona’s residents and the state’s economic success is related to the quality of higher education, said Rep. Jackie Thrasher, D-Glendale. But, she said, there were 38,000 students in fiscal year 2005 that needed financial assistance, while only a fraction received all the money they needed.

    “”We must do better because our students are the future of Arizona,”” she said. “”Never, ever, ever give up on this fight.””

    Rep. Jennifer Burns, R-Tucson, said the students should be proud for showing up at the Capitol.

    “”Thank you all for being here today to let my colleagues know that these things are important and that the universities are important, our students are important and AFAT is important,”” she said.

    Representatives from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona attended the event to get the UA’s voice heard and to enable more students to go to college, said Brad Wulff, a business administration junior and freshman class council director for ASUA.

    “”It’s really important that we get the word out there about it,”” he said.

    Sarah Doyle, a psychology freshman, said she came to the event because she noticed it is getting more difficult to receive financial aid. Although Doyle doesn’t receive any aid, the people she knows who do urgently need it to continue their education, she said.

    “”The students here are becoming more aware of the issue and it raises awareness among the legislators as well,”” Doyle said, but added: “”A couple of them showed up, but not enough, and we’ll keep rallying until they do.””

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