Students must vocalize appropriation concerns to legislators to avoid a steeper tuition increase in the future.
Being away at school kept me from physically casting my vote in the midterm election this year, but you can bet I voted absentee instead.
I have voted in every election since I turned 18 in 2008, but I found myself more involved this year because of the stake the elections had for Temple students.
In the next few months, the new Pennsylvania legislature will work to determine the future for many Temple students relying on state funding to prevent a drastic tuition hike.
Since the $7 billion in stimulus funding for the state government is not going to be available this upcoming year, Tom Corbett, the newly elected Republican governor, will face difficult budgetary decisions. One main decision he and the general assembly must determine is the amount of nonpreferred appropriations for state-related institutions, including Temple.
With Corbett’s vow to cut spending and lower taxes, now is the time to let the new governor and legislature know that we as Temple students need continued support no matter what they decide to cut.
If you care about Temple and higher education, you can and should get involved in the appropriation decisions. One simple way to do so is to join the Temple Advocates Legislative Outreach Network. With 1,183 advocates in TALON right now, there is plenty of work to be done considering the more than 30,000 students on Main Campus.
The members in TALON meet monthly with Ken Lawrence, the senior vice president of government, community and public affairs, to discuss what steps to take to get more people involved. This advocacy is not only for Temple students, but also for faculty members, employees, parents and alumni to contribute their efforts in letting elected officials know the importance of supporting Temple, and higher education.
“I think students underestimate how powerful their voice can be,” Lawrence said. “Students always have the opportunity to make their voice heard, and I think it definitely has an impact.”
“The worst thing you can do about a situation is not speak up,” freshman marketing major Verdis Collins said.
The more people who get involved, the better chance there is at making a change.
It is understandable that cuts may need to be made, but appropriations are important for higher education. For the future of Pennsylvania, cutting education funding shouldn’t be an option, ever.
Whether in-state or out-of-state, all Temple students will feel the effect of a decrease in funding.
“Everyone should be pushing for and making sure that we keep our funding,” said Temple Student Government President Natalie Ramos-Castillo, a senior education major.
Sean O’Connell, the TSG chief of staff and a senior marketing major, said this is “something that is very immediate.”
One of the main reasons I chose Temple was for the location, great education program and affordable tuition. It is hard enough for students to pay off their loans, and increasing the tuition is only going to make the process more difficult.
Temple has already requested $189 million in appropriations for the 2011-12 fiscal year. Temple’s proposal and other budgetary decisions will be considered by Corbett and announced by the first week of March.
It is important until then to send e-mails and letters, make phone calls or personally deliver messages to your newly elected officials in Pennsylvania to let them know you are counting on them for your future.
Lauren Hertzler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.