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Financial aid in jeopardy

By Elizabeth Fish
On February 24, 2011

What happens when you take financial aid away from college students? Sacred Heart University and other private colleges and universities of Connecticut just might have to answer this question within the year, due to a controversial issue that is raising concern in the region.

Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy has created a new budget that could cut and possibly eliminate scholarships for Connecticut students who attend in-state private colleges, according to an online article in the Hartford Courant.

The budget was created so that Connecticut could reduce its deficit, directly affecting students at Sacred Heart, being that the university is private.

According to the article, Malloy's proposed budget calls for a 25 percent cut in the $23.4 million Connecticut Independent College Student Grant Program in the next academic year, followed by a 50 percent cut the year after that.

"Currently, 6,000 young people in the state of Connecticut receive funding," said Ann Miron, director of corporate and community relations at Sacred Heart. "After the cut that Malloy would like to see happen, only 3,500 of these people will be eligible."

Reducing or eliminating the CCIS program could possibly cause changes around the state, like forcing students to take out bigger loans, delay going to college right after graduating high school, attend college elsewhere, or even drop out, according to the article.

"I don't get why they would cut from private schools," said senior Nicole Mastroni. "Every student deserves to have funding if their families can't afford it."

Malloy's decisions have caused a call to action on Sacred Heart's part. On Monday, Feb. 28, there will be an Appropriations Committee Day in Hartford, which Miron plans to partake in. The committee will rally to put an end to these financial aid cuts before they begin.

"We plan to be up there by 3:30, and then go to the governor's office. Then, we can walk to the legislature's office together," said Miron.

However, those who wish to change the outcome of this possibility might not be successful if they work alone.

"We need to take action immediately. Every student who cares about funding should care. For those students who aren't receiving funding, they should care about their friends," said Miron. "There needs to be letter writing to trustees from parents, faculty, and staff."

Other students find Malloy's plan to be completely unjust.

"This is awful. It's not fair at all," said senior Jenn McLain.

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