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Bellevue College
Bellevue, WA
November 24, 2009     Bellevue College
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November 24, 2009

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10 The ]ibsheet November 24, 2009 OPINIONS _ . They don't make music like they used to Maida Suljevic NEWS EDITOR Saving money for college could get a whole lot easier. The United States House of Representatives recently voted on legislation that would increase the amount of federal aid students are able to receive for their college education. The bill, known as the "Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA)," passed in the house by a vote of 253 to 171 and has been sent to the Senate, where it is predicted to pass. If SAFRA were to pass, it would have a direct impact on community colleges nationwide. SAFRA includes a section in its legislation that would set aside 9.5 billion dollars to community colleges.Outoftheaforementioned figure, 2.5 billion dollars would go towards improving facilities and campuses; the rest would go towards grants. The bill would introduce a competitive grant program that would encourage community colleges to improve instruction, facilities, student support services, and implementation of other reforms. The bill would also invest 40 billion dollars over the next 10 years to increase the maximum annual Pell Grant. In 2010, the maximum amount for an annual Pell Grant scholarship would be raised to 5,550 dollars and would continue to increase over the years. According to the bill, the" Pell Grant would increase to match the rising cost of the standard of living, and will be indexed through the Consumer Price .Index, plus one percent. SAFRA would include provisions to improve the Federal Perkins Loan Program, which provides ,low interest loans to help needy students. The legislation would require that, beginning on July 1, 2010, all loans are to be converted to the Federal Direct Loan Program. The bill vould eliminate the need for students to apply and receive loans from private lenders. The government would then, in theory, save more money, because they do not have to guarantee or insure the private lender. The government will funnel the saved money back into financial aid or towards the national deficit. The bill would also put an end to the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), because the program would no longer be able to generate revenue from new loans. While this idea may seem great on paper, many republicans in the House opposed the measure, complaining about the increasing size of government and the government takeover of yet another sector that private loan officers used to control. "Today's vote was about expanding the size and scope of the federal government through tens of billions of dollars in new entitlement spending and the elimination of choice, competition and the innovation of the private sector," said Rep. John Kline from Minnesota, who is the top republican on the Education and Labor Committee. On the other side of the spectrum is Rep. George Miller, democrat from California and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, who said, "Today the House made a clear choice to stop funneling vital taxpayer dollars through boardrooms and start sending them directly to dorm rooms." For the most part, advocates for students support the passing of the bill, arguing that the legislation is looking out for the best interests of future students by offering more financial aid, student programs and better facilities. OPINIONS@THEIIBSHEET.COM mail@thefibsheeLcom stories@thefibsheet, com The libsheet 3000 Landerholm Circle SE, C-206 Bellevue, WA 98007 College. Its content may not reflect the views of the administration or the student body. included in the paper. First three copies ofthis issue are fre Contact Editor-in-Chief for information regarding additional copies. A letter to the students Dear Students, The Associated Student Government (ASG) is committed to representing students in the decision-making that effects our campus. Bellevue College's model of shared governance allows a broad spectrum of input from a wide variety of people. The ASG uses this input to make sure that your needs are considered a primary importance in any policy implemented. Among other things, we are seeking new technological solutions that would decrease net textbook costs, promoting legislation that Would place a student member on the Board of Trustees, working towards environmental initiatives that promote sustainability, and reviewing new and innovative ways to keep students informed. publishing rights to  piece of writing and artwork/photo (unless otherwise noted) and the right to use the submitted writing/ Member: i That being said, this will be another year of dramatic budget cuts to the already anemic Community and Technical college system. Figures suggest that the budget situation in Olympia will continue to falter due to the recession our state's economy is beginning to emerge from. This means that Bellevue College will likely See another round of cuts to the College's budget resulting in reduced resources to our students most in need. The ASG is resolved to work diligently to divert the ramifications of such cuts away from student's.pockets. An arm of the ASG, the Office of Student Legislative Affairs, will be lobbying in Olympia on your behalf during the legislative session. They will meet with legislators, propose bills, and work with other organizations to help ensure that the educational system does not see a disproportional amount of budget reductions. To do this, we will need student support and testimony in Olympia. I urge you to contact your legislator and let them know that students cannot be the ones to see cuts. ( : COLLEGIATE The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Associated Students of Bellevue College nor of the administration of Bellevue College. They also do not speak on behalf of the entire staff of The Jibsheet or advertisers. Take a moment to visit the Associated Student Government on the second floor of the C building in C212. Sincerely, ]oseph Root ASG President Bellevue College OPINIONS@THEJIBSHEET.COM