In the fight to maintain funding for Cal Grants, Loyola Marymount University students are leading the way. Additional advocacy efforts continue to be critical in opposing cuts to the Cal Grant program.
Freshmen Kenneth Chancey and Christian Rodriguez traveled to Sacramento on March 7, for a daylong event that was spearheaded by the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. It featured a rally outside the Capitol building and meetings with state legislators.
“I felt honored to represent the 800 LMU students, and the 26,000 students across the state, who are Cal Grant recipients,” Chancey said at the gathering. “I really felt motivated to get the point across that Cal Grants cannot be cut.”
Cal Grants are state-funded awards given to students to help pay college expenses, and unlike student loans, they do not have to be paid back. Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed reducing the maximum Cal Grant award by nearly half, to $5,472 for students attending independent, nonprofit schools.
"Cutting them will hurt the future of the state of California, as well as many individuals,” Rodriguez said. The Public Policy Institute of California estimates that even without the cuts, California will be short one million needed college-educated students by 2025.
Chancey was selected to speak at the rally, where Assemblyman Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) also spoke out in support of Cal Grants. LMU representatives then met with the staff members of more than 15 state legislators, including Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Santa Monica).
Although the Assembly subcommittee rejected the proposal to cut the grants, the issue is scheduled to go before the State Senate in April and public input continues to be critical before the final budget is approved on June 1. Supporters are encouraged to sign a petition, send emails to legislators opposing the cuts and like our Facebook page.