Students protest proposed financial aid cuts

January 27, 2009 5:35:40 PM PST
Students from California State universities Tuesday kicked off a week-long event to protest the proposed budget cuts to the Cal Grants, the state's main financial aid program.

Students that receive up to $9,700 a year from the Cal Grants program may find that money harder to find next year.

Two weeks ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took out a sword to make a point about cutting the budget. Cal Grants is on his list; he plans to slash the program by $88 million.

Tuesday, students and faculty at California State University, East Bay signed a petition opposing the cuts.

"The CSU educates students who are mostly many first generation college students coming from lower and lower middle class families; to cut out financial aid is going to mean that they can't go to school," California Faculty Association spokesperson Tom McCoy said.

Additionally, the money students do receive will not be adjusted to account for tuition increases, putting an added burden on some students because the UC and California State University systems are expected to announce a tuition hike to cover the state budget gap.

"So even though our fees are going up, our financial aid is not increasing," student Sherrie Canedo said.

Students like Aaron Garcia believe California needs more college graduates to compete in this global economy.

"You need to invest in education and try to get as much students into the university system as they can," Garcia said.

Tuesday was the first petition drive. Three more at other CSU campuses are expected throughout the week.