February 26, 2014
By Brad Freeman,
Director of Public Policy & Advocacy
Earlier this week, AICUM held its annual Student Financial Aid Advocacy Day in the Great Hall of the State House.
This year, AICUM was joined by over 175 students from almost 30 colleges and universities around the Commonwealth to thank legislators for a $3 million increase in the FY14 budget and to challenge them to continue that momentum as the FY15 budget process commences. It was inspirational to see college students rallying in the Great Hall and walking the halls of the State House to advocate for themselves while wearing their college sweatshirts and proudly representing: Anna Maria College, Babson College, Bentley University, Boston College, Boston University, Cambridge College, College of the Holy Cross, Curry College, Eastern Nazarene College, Emerson College, Emmanuel College, Endicott College, Fisher College, Lasell College, MIT, Merrimack College, Newbury College, Northeastern University, Pine Manor College, Simmons College, Stonehill College, Suffolk University, Tufts University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Wheelock College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The highlight of the rally was hearing from House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senator Sal DiDomenico as they spoke with the students about the importance of getting a college degree and the critical role that financial aid plays in making that happen. Prior to Speaker DeLeo’s arrival, a committee of students visited with the Speaker in his office and escorted him to the rally. This was a great opportunity for the students to personally thank the Speaker for his leadership and support for need-based financial aid.
After the rally, the students set off to meet with the Senators and Representatives, both those representing their college or university and those representing their hometowns. This presented another excellent opportunity to personally thank legislators and explain how their financial aid helped them stay in MA to attend college. The students did an incredible job telling their personal stories to legislators and staff, highlighting the role that need-based financial aid has played in allowing them to pursue their aspirations.
Despite last year’s increase in need-based financial aid, there is still a long way to go to restore the pre-recession purchasing power of the line-item. Massachusetts is ahead of only Arkansas and Puerto Rico when it comes to the average amount awarded to students by our state need-based financial aid programs. For a state rightly considered the “Hub” of higher education excellence, it is incumbent upon us to improve in this category.
AICUM will continue to meet with legislators throughout the budget season to advocate for more need-based aid. If you would like to add your voice to process, please visit our
‘Take Action’ page to send an email to your elected officials about the importance of more funding for financial aid.