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Mount Union College Involved in Making a Difference on the Future of the Ohio Choice Grant

April 24, 2007

Mount Union College has been actively involved with making a difference on the future of the Ohio Choice Grant.

The Ohio Choice Grants are awarded to full time, Ohio resident students who are pursuing their first bachelor's degree. Students at Mount Union College and everywhere around Ohio are in danger of losing this $900.

Students at Mount Union have signed more than 7,000 petition letters that discuss the impact of the budget cuts on the Mount Union College community and each student. These letters have been delivered to each member of the Sub-Committee on High Education, Senator John Boccieri and Governor Strickland.

Representative Shawn Webster, Chairman of the House Sub-Committee on Higher Education invited freshman Amber Jaeb and Amy Tomko, vice president for enrollment services, to testify before the committee earlier this month in Columbus. Jaeb and Tomko addressed the committee on the importance of providing assistance to private college students.

Jaeb discussed the effects of Governor Strickland's $900 per student cut in the Ohio Choice Grant. She noted, that if a student attended a public institution the state contributes almost four times that amount in assistance and private college students only receive $900. Jaeb pointed out the impact of the proposed budget cuts on the student body of Mount Union.

I thought the experience was very positive and was amazed at the amount of respect we received from our lobbyists and from our representatives,' said Jaeb. Our thoughts and concerns were valuable to them and I feel that we represented the students and staff of Mount Union well. My experience in Columbus made me realize that every voice really matters in this country,' said Jaeb.

Tomko pointed out that over 1300 Mount Union students stand to lose financial assistance if the budget cut was enacted. She discussed the fact that private college students, like students that attend public universities and college, need all the assistance they can get because the cost of education, while it is a lifetime of learning, it can also be a huge financial burden. If the cuts become a permanent part of the budget, Mount Union College would lose more than $1.1 million dollars.

Also attending the hearing was Dr. Eric Matthews, director of the Center for Public Service at Mount Union. After the hearings, the group was given a guided tour of the General Assembly Building and was able to meet other key policy makers in Columbus.

Mount Union hopes that their efforts will help to keep the Ohio Choice Grant. 'If only our fellow citizens would take advantage of their freedom to make a difference, I think that they, too, would be amazed at how important each person is to this country, said Jaeb. We can make a difference!'

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