Students share the importance of financial aid in #AID4US campaign

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READ student financial aid stories

#AID4US: Because Our Degrees Matter is the theme of a campaign underway by a group of AIKCU student ambassadors to champion the need-based Kentucky College Access Program (CAP) and Kentucky Tuition Grant (KTG) financial aid programs.

The “us” in #AID4US isn’t AIKCU or its member institutions. Us is the students, future students, alumni, families, and communities who benefit from Kentucky’s investment in need-based student financial aid.

To underscore the critical role that CAP and KTG play in helping Kentuckians achieve their dreams, AIKCU students are sharing their financial aid stories at (and on Twitter and Instagram).

There you’ll meet students like Haley, a UPIKE junior whose father recently lost his job in the coal industry. State aid is making it possible for Haley to stay at UPIKE to earn her degree so she won’t “have to rely on the ‘boom and bust’ of the coal industry to support myself.” Zach, a University of the Cumberlands chemistry major, says that without state aid “making payments for college would be impossible.” Midway University student Debbie, who returned to college when her children left home, will graduate in 2018 at the same time as her son, thanks in large part to the CAP and KTG grants they both receive. Visit the blog to read these and many other first-person accounts of the importance of financial aid.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing these and other students’ stories with policymakers as we thank them for their support of student financial aid. With 2 out of 3 Kentucky students attending AIKCU institutions full-time receiving need-based state aid, we know there are many more stories out there. We are calling for Kentucky students to join in and share their financial aid stories – email us or use the hashtag #AID4US on social media. Even better, contact your legislators to let them know how CAP and KTG make a difference in students’ lives on your campus.

​We’re sharing these stories with legislators in hopes that in this budget year the General Assembly will fund CAP and KTG at the levels specified by Kentucky statute. Under existing statute, 55% of projected revenues from the Kentucky Lottery are designated to fund CAP and KTG. However, in the last several state budget cycles anywhere from $20-30+ million in lottery revenues each year that should have gone to CAP and KTG have been used to fill other needs in the state budget. Had the programs been funded as directed by statute, about 15,000 more CAP and KTG awards would have gone to students in need last year. [This infographic provides more detail.]

In his January budget address, Governor Bevin admonished this practice of “notwithstanding” the student financial aid statute and pledged to allocate all lottery revenues to education to fulfill the “Powerball Promise.” However, Governor Bevin’s budget provides no increases for the existing CAP and KTG programs. It instead proposes using $59 million of lottery revenues to fund a new workforce training aid program.

We applaud the Governor for directing Kentucky Lottery revenues back to education and don’t oppose the idea of providing student aid for workforce training. However, we hope that the General Assembly will fulfill its commitment to low-income students across the commonwealth by funding the existing CAP and KTG programs at the levels prescribed by statute. Because our degrees matter.