Auburn University Lobby Board gears up for new university funding legislation

Starting back in August, Auburn University students have been paying tuition rates 12 percent more than the year before due to a decrease in state funding. That is a $666 increase per semester for in-state students and a $1,926 increase per semester for out-of-state students. As a whole, Auburn University was hit with a $40 million cut in state funding.

This decision was previously made last June in 2008. It is now the beginning of the 2009 spring semester. For a lot of students, this increase in tuition has gone unnoticed or has simply been ignored. Then there are those who are drastically affected by a 12 percent increase for an education, especially one that they are personally financing.

Fortunately for these students, there is a group of volunteers who are organizing and lobbying for a change. The Auburn University Lobby board is composed of Auburn students who take a special interest in state legislation dealing with everything Auburn.

The board is made up of 20 students, mostly sophomores and juniors, and is apart of the SGA. Their goals are to raise awareness and to let Alabama state officials know that Auburn students are aware of the already standing and proposed state legislation that directly affect them.

With plans for another 8 percent cut in state funding this year, the Auburn University Lobby Board is preparing to lobby on behalf of Auburn students in Montgomery.
Joe Knight, a sophomore history major, has been a member of the university’s lobby board since fall 2008.

“We mainly deal with the Alabama state legislature and raising awareness that we as students know what’s going on with the state government,” said Knight.

“They are expecting another 8 percent decrease in state funding which would raise tuition yet again,” said Knight. “We as a lobby board kind of go to Montgomery and show the legislature that we do care and we do realize the we do need the money coming from them.”

Students who are passionate about the university’s state funding can participate at the state Capital with the lobby board later this spring.

“ The big day is Higher Education Day which is March 5,” said Knight. “Everyone is invited. You get a university excuse to miss classes. You get to go down and march in a parade and hear the governor speak.”

The event will also include other speakers such as the speaker of the house and the director of higher education. All who participate will receive free barbecue.

Higher Education Day gives Auburn students a chance to express themselves and display their knowledge of state legislation. The special day is hosted by the Higher Education Partnership, a partnership between the 13 public universities in the state of Alabama.

Their website contains information on political activities and instructions on how to contact your state legislator. Their site is www.higheredpartners.com

Those students who feel especially passionate about state funding should attend the Higher Education Day this spring. It’s a great chance to have your voice heard on a subject that directly affects the size of your wallet.


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