AIKCU members travel to Frankfort to thank legislators for student aid

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear welcomed Campbellsville University students and leaders to the Capitol. From left are: Rep. Bam Carney (KY 51); vice president for academics Dr. Frank Cheatham; student Courtney Claywell from Albany; student from Columbia, Lauren Goodin; Senator Jimmy Higdon, KY 14th District; CU student Zach Smith from Russell Springs; Gov. Beshear; CU president Dr. Michael V. Carter; and vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president John Chowning. Photo by Linda Waggener, CU.

 

Students and administrators from Kentucky’s nonprofit, private colleges have been in Frankfort each Wednesday during February to meet with legislators and thank them for supporting student aid.

The legislative Wednesdays are an extension of AIKCU’s legislative outreach campaign that began in January with students writing thank you postcards to legislators. The Frankfort visits provide an opportunity for AIKCU students and administrators to meet in person with their elected officials to express their gratitude for Kentucky’s financial aid programs.

In each meeting students and administrators thanked lawmakers for Kentucky’s longstanding, bipartisan commitment to student aid. They urged legislators to support the level funding for student aid outlined in Governor Beshear’s budget proposal.

Jazzmyn Lynk, a Bellarmine University freshman, expressed a sentiment shared by many students who made the trip to Frankfort in February.

“I really think we made a difference yesterday,” said Lynk. “Tom Burch (a state representative from Jefferson County and Bellarmine alumnus) expressed he had never met anyone who received the aid we were given, and was deeply impressed that we all valued our education and benefited from the aid. Its great to know we have our legislators on our side!” (Read more about her experience in Bellarmine’s news coverage.)

It wasn’t just students who were energized by the visits. The night before he was scheduled to visit with Centre College and Campbellsville University students, House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover (a Centre alumnus) tweeted from his Twitter account:

Rep. Bam Carney, a high school teacher by profession, has close ties to two private colleges in his district, Lindsey Wilson College and Campbellsville University. When he met with students from his alma mater, Berea College, Carney shared his deep affection for the work college and independent colleges in general. He told the Berea students that, “Without Berea College, I couldn’t have gone anywhere else.”

Rep. Arnold Simpson, chair of the House budget review subcommittee for postsecondary education, pictured in his office with a Berea student and financial aid director Nancy Melton

Last year 14,700 AIKCU students received more than $54 million through Kentucky’s “big three” financial aid programs: the need-based College Access Program (CAP), the need-based Kentucky Tuition Grant (KTG) for private college students, and the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES).

“In a tough budget year, it’s important for legislators to hear firsthand from these students that a relatively small investment in state financial aid can make a huge difference,” said Gary S. Cox, AIKCU President. “Without Kentucky’s student aid programs, combined with the federal aid programs and the aid that our campuses provide, many of our students wouldn’t be able to achieve a college degree.”

AIKCU thanks all the campuses who traveled to Frankfort to participate in the February legislative Wednesdays: Alice Lloyd College, Asbury University, Bellarmine University, Berea College, Brescia University, Campbellsville University, Centre College, Georgetown College, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Lindsey Wilson College, St. Catharine College, Thomas More College, Union College, and the University of the Cumberlands.

As the legislature turns its attention to the budget process, AIKCU encourages students, faculty, staff, and alumni to continue contacting legislators and encouraging them to support student aid. Learn how to get involved at AIKCU.org/thankyou.

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