Bellevue College “Stop the Raid on Student Aid”

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Student programs are facing a 30 percent cut. National financial aid is looking at a 50 percent reduction. Tuition is expected to rise another 20 percent, a 70 percent increase since last year. These startling statistics have caused BC students to join a national coalition to save government funding of higher education. This campaign is called Stop the Raid on Student Aid.

More than 70 percent of people eligible for financial aid didn’t receive it this year. These cuts are happening on the BC campus – fewer and fewer people are able to attend school because of the loss of financial aid. BC student programs are in trouble, too; they are facing cuts of monumental proportions.

In order to fight these cuts to higher education, BC has formed Stop the Raid on Student Aid. This project, headed by Tanesha Tekola and ASG President Brandon Anderson, is designed to get the students on BC active in what political decisions are being made about their institutions.

A major point of the group is to raise awareness by sending representatives and members to classes where they talk to the students and hand out postcards. These cards will be sent off to the Super committee in Washington, DC to protest cuts to education.

“We have a split government and we aren’t getting things done,” said Anderson, describing the Super committee. “So we’ve got six Democrats and six Republicans in a room who have to cut $1.2 trillion. Twelve senators will decide the fate of this country.”

This Super committee is what Stop the Raid on Student Aid hopes to reach, through postcards as well as other methods. Time is limited – “We have two weeks to wake up this college,” said Tekola.

So on Tuesday, Action Week begins. On Nov. 8, there will be a forum held in the cafeteria for students to gather and share their stories – how these budget cuts are going to affect them, and why they care about it.

This will also be an opportunity for discussion about the coalition and its short term and long term goals.

On Nov. 10, there will be a workshop called ‘Who broke the economy?’ designed to help students understand the real nature of today’s economy; how it got this way, and how it may right itself in the future.

Nov. 16 is a big day for the group – Call In To Congress day. This is the day that all members of the group will be calling the Super committee nonstop and letting them know that students care about their school’s finances.

The most important short-term goal of the group is happening on Nov. 17, however. There will be a huge rally on the Montlake Bridge. Over 1000 people are estimated to be in attendance, according to coordinator Tekola, there will be skits, flash mobs and banners, and perhaps even drum circles. It is scheduled to happen during rush hour in order to maximize media attention.

This is the BC branch of a movement that is taking place in almost every college across the country as students strive to make their voices heard. UW, facing tuition increases of around 23 percent, is protesting in front of major banks. Students from these protests may join BC students on the Montlake Bridge for the Nov. 17 rally.

Driven by massive cuts to higher education funding, BC has joined the national coalition Stop the Raid on Student Aid to have a voice in decisions affecting the future of students – particularly the dramatic cuts to financial aid.

This group is active in sharing its message and making sure the Super committee in charge of these cuts knows who they are – BC students want their voices heard.