Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up for St. Thomas “Day at the Capitol” on Wednesday, March 13, and meet with legislators to discuss the importance of the Minnesota State Grant Program.
The St. Thomas contingent will join students from Gustavus Adolphus College and Concordia College-Moorhead for Day at the Capitol events, which will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This year, the State Grant Program awarded $5.2 million in need-based financial aid to 1,437 St. Thomas undergraduate students who are Minnesota residents, for an average grant of $3,600. The state program is one of two government-backed grant programs; the federal Pell Grant program awarded $5.1 million to 1,278 St. Thomas students, an average of $3,991.
The Legislature this spring will set the state grant budget for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years. Gov. Mark Dayton has recommended an $80 million, or 25 percent, increase in state funding for the program for the next two years.
“We support the governor’s proposal because it would provide larger grants to returning students who receive state grants and also would expand eligibility for the program,” said Doug Hennes, vice president for university and government relations. “Our Day at the Capitol event will be a great opportunity for students to tell legislators how important the grant program is in helping them pay for their education.”
The March 13 event will begin with a briefing conducted by the Minnesota Private College Council, which coordinates lobbying activities at the Capitol for 17 institutions, including St. Thomas. Participants will meet with senators and representatives from their home districts. Food vouchers will be provided, and St. Thomas will run a bus between the St. Paul campus and the Capitol.
People can sign up for Day at the Capitol through March 4 but are encouraged to do so as early as possible in order to give the MPCC staff members enough time to schedule meetings with legislators. To sign up, go to mnprivatecolleges.org.