Heated debate surrounded Associated Students President Amanda Flavin’s resolution opposing Gov. Brown’s proposed cuts to the Cal Grant program at Tuesday’s A.S. meeting.
Brown’s 2012-2013 budget proposal reduces funding to the Cal Grant program by $131.2 million by increasing the minimum GPA requirement for Cal Grant A from a 3.0 to a 3.25, Cal Grant B from a 2.0 to a 2.75 and community college transfer entitlement awards from a 2.4 to a 2.75.
According to the resolution, over 65,000 CSU students rely on funds from Cal Grants.
“Students should be held to a higher standard if they want help,” A.S. Senator Lettieri said.
Should Brown’s proposed plan pass, the new standards would be taken into effect immediately and would deny many students access to aid they had received previously. Several A.S. senators agreed that this could lead to a higher dropout rate, as some may not be able to afford the costs of education under these circumstances.
“Take your personal feelings out of the equation and vote how your constituents would want,” Flavin said.
CSUN is home to a diverse student body, many of who come from underrepresented groups and may not have access to resources that would drive their GPA in more competitive ranges, Flavin said..
“I think it’s irresponsible of the board to agree with the governor to further cut money in higher education,” Flavin said.
A point of contention in Flavin’s resolution was the inclusion of loan forgiveness programs for nurses and teachers.
Some senators felt this clause in the resolution was irrelevant and didn’t fit the context of the proposed opposition.
Senator William Ryder suggested an amendment to the resolution that would exclude current students receiving aid to be subjected to the proposed changes. He said the resolution would force students to seek funding from other sources.
Senator Laquae Felix emphasized, “It’s not about ‘we should be working harder’ it’s about representing our constituents.”
Despite the amendments and jargon clarification, the resolution in opposition to Cal Grant cuts was passed with two senators in objection.