MU students lobby Indiana legislators about benefits of state aid

Manchester University students spoke to state legislators Tuesday, March 10, about need-based state aid during one of three 2015 Lobby Days sponsored by the Independent Colleges of Indiana.

Danielle RobertsonThe message delivered during the budget session at the Indiana Statehouse was that state aid for college students is a sound investment for Indiana, and the state’s economic future, because it helps students afford a four-year education.

MU students attending Lobby Day got to personally thank a state senator or representative from their hometown for Indiana state aid and scholarships. Each Lobby Day gives students at private institutions an opportunity to speak with legislators about state funding before the state budget is finalized.

Students shared personal stories, career aspirations and handwritten letters about how state aid helps them and other students. The Division of Student Financial Aid gives grants to colleges which then assist Indiana students to lower their out-of-pocket annual tuition. Thirty-nine percent of Manchester students receive aid from SFA.

Manchester students joined others from nonprofit colleges and universities at the Indiana History Center at 10:30 a.m., for the second of three ICI Lobby Days, before heading to the Statehouse. They were briefed by ICI President Richard Ludwick on current issues in the Legislature involving student aid.

“Lobbying is the ability to communicate and be honest and to inform legislators about choices that they made,” he said.

Many in Manchester’s group had personal meetings with their senators and representatives, who welcomed them and applauded their Lobby Day efforts.

State Sen. Amanda Banks, R-Columbia City, who is filling in for her husband, Jim Banks, while he is on active duty in Afghanistan, spoke with Manchester students about how their active role is important and how she got involved in politics.

Students also met with MU alumni John Coldren ’66, Nick Barbknecht ’12 and Veronica Schilb ’12, who are active in state politics, as well current senior political science major Chris Minter ’15, who is an intern with Indiana Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson. They spoke about their jobs and duties, answering student questions. They all agreed that Manchester helped prepare them for their roles in government.

Dr. Leonard Williams, MU professor of political science, led the group, which was accompanied by Anne Gregory, University media relations specialist.

Student lobbyists for Manchester University:

  • Jordan Lett, junior political science and economics major from Hagerstown, Ind.
  • Caitlin O’Quinn, first-year political science major from Valparaiso, Ind.
  • Jake Burns, junior political science major from LaPorte, Ind.
  • Tate Wooding, first-year political science major from LaPorte.
  • Zander Willoughby, first-year political science and French major from Wyoming, Mich.
  • Danielle Robertson, junior political science major from Windfall, Ind.
  • Brian Motley, junior political science and economics major from Spencerville, Ind.
  • Ashlyn Leamon, first-year political science major from West Lafayette, Ind.

Composed by Tiana Maclin, Manchester University student worker.

March 13, 2015

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