SMU students who receive Texas state tuition assistance are speaking up against proposed budget cuts that could jeopardize the grant program that provides the funds.
The Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) program provides financial aid to students attending 42 private Texas colleges and universities. It awards grants averaging $3,400 to about 28,000 Texans with financial need each year, nearly half of whom are minorities.
The TEG program faces cuts of more than 40 percent; the proposed budget cuts would eliminate about 10,000 students from the grant program. More than 1,500 SMU students received the grant for the 2010-11 academic year.
Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White encouraged the University’s TEG recipients “to contact your Texas legislators and express your opinion about this issue” in an e-mail sent earlier this week.
A group of students met with state legislators at the Texas Capitol on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 to express their support for the TEG program. They included senior and student body president Jake Torres; seniors Laura Baez, Daniela Balderas and Brian Quarles; junior Bethany Mackingtee; sophomore Erin Hoya; and first-year Ryan Swick. Fernando Salazar, coordinator of Latina/o Student Services in Student Activities & Multicultural Student Affairs, joined them on the trip.
“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.”
Students are gathering in support of the TEG program in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons through 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 9. The students will have postcards and addresses to allow fellow TEG recipients to write to their representatives in the Texas Legislature.
(Above, SMU students and staff members at the Save TEG table in Hughes-Trigg Student Center include Gordon Brannon, Financial Aid; Fernando Salazar, SAMSA; senior Jake Torres, student body president; and junior Bethany Mackingtee. Photo by Isaac Cotherman.)
> Learn more from SMU News
> Read the students’ letter to the editor of The Dallas Morning News
> Read the students’ op-ed in The Austin American-Statesman
> Find coverage of the students’ Austin trip in the DMN’s Politics section
> More about SMU and TEG from the DMN Trailblazers blog
> Read and listen to coverage from KERA Public Radio