A group of SMU students met with state legislators at the Texas Capitol on March 2 to express their support of Texas Tuition Equalization Grants.
The TEG program, which provides financial aid to students attending 42 private Texas colleges and universities, is facing cuts of more than 40 percent in the Legislature’s proposed biennial budget. The program awards grants averaging $3,400 to about 28,000 Texans with financial need each year, nearly half of whom are minorities. At SMU, more than 1,500 students received the grants for the 2010-11 academic year.
Students who visited Austin include senior and student body president Jake Torres, senior Laura Baez, senior Daniela Balderas, sophomore Erin Hoya, junior Bethany Mackingtee, senior Brian Quarles and first-year Ryan Swick. Fernando Salazar, the coordinator of Latina/o Student Services in Student Activities & Multicultural Student Affairs, joined them on the trip.
The students were featured in:
• The Austin American-Statesman: “Texas cannot afford to make cuts in the Tuition Equalization Grant program”
• The Dallas Morning News: “SMU students lobby lawmakers for financial aid funding”
• The Dallas Morning News Letters to the Editor: “A smart investment in students”
At the Capitol, students met with legislators who represent their home districts. They were recognized on the House floor by Representative Dan Branch and on the Senate floor by Senator Royce West.
“This was an opportunity to make our voices heard,” Torres said. “We were able to emphasize the importance of these grants to the SMU community and to Texas.”