President, students take TEG message to Capitol
Feb. 5, 2010

President Dan McAlexander and Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. John Tures traveled to the State Capitol this week with a group of students to talk to legislators about the proposed elimination of the Tuition Equalization Grant.

“We felt it was important for our lawmakers to see the faces and hear the voices of students who will be impacted by the loss of the grant,” Dr. McAlexander said. “I was extremely proud of how our young people presented themselves and represented the College.”

The TEG program has provided tuition assistance to Georgia students attending the state’s private colleges since 1975. The proposed cut of the grant would mean the loss of $29 million annually in tuition assistance statewide, including a loss here at the College of $230,000 a year in assistance.

Sophomore Elissa Marks said she felt honored to be asked to accompany to group to Atlanta.

“It was a very important to emphasize to Georgia legislators how important the TEG is to every student,” she said. “It is important to me to have a strong financial foundation when I graduate from college, and the elimination of the TEG would most certainly put me in debt when I graduate – that in addition to other loans I have already taken out.”

Senior Heather Peake said she was able to tell lawmakers what TEG does for her.

“I am a single mother and the grant helps me afford college and avoid debt,” she said, “Because of programs like the TEG, I am receiving a fantastic liberal arts education close to my home with personal attention from professors because of smaller class size, and I am on track to graduate May '10, magna cum laude.”  

Junior Catherine Rodriguez met with her own state district representative, Tommy Benton.

“The $1,000 I receive from the grant is something that my parents don’t have to worry about,” she said. “Like many families across the U.S., we're tight on money because my parents have three students in college now. I see what the public universities offer their students, and it does not compare to what I have here at LaGrange College.”

Freshman Knox Robinson believes the grant program makes a difference.

“I feel strongly about this issue because the TEG gives thousands of private school students in Georgia the chance to pursue their education in an environment that best suits them individually,” he said.

Dr. Tures was pleased with the students and the work they did.

“They handled themselves very professionally and were courteous, but direct with their state representatives and senators,” he said.

He warns that saving the grant will be an uphill battle in the State Senate.

“Make sure you contact your elected officials, especially Seth Harp and Mitch Seabaugh,” he said. “Sen. Harp chairs the appropriations subcommittee on higher education, while Sen. Seabaugh is a majority whip (number two person in the state senate).  Both are Republicans.  Both are sympathetic to our plight, but both point out how much of a deficit Georgia faces.  This may be a tough sell, but I believe it’s a fight we need to make.”

For more information about contacting your state legislators, here.

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