SG travels to D.C. to share student financial concerns

In an effort to gain federal funding for higher education, members of Student Government went to Washington, D.C., to meet with the Kentucky delegation last week.

SG President Tyler Montell said the group went to the capitol with two goals in mind: to maintain the relationship established by former SG President Nick Phelps with Kentucky’s elected officials and to give UK students a voice within their legislation.

“For all of the congressmen outside of Ben Chandler’s district, we wanted to explain to them how important it is to think about UK students,” Montell said.

SG students met with congressmen Ron Lewis, John Yarmuth, Ben Chandler and Geoff Davis and also metwith senators Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell.

As legislation begins considering re-authorizing the Higher Education Act, Montell and other members of SG hoped to make an impression on Kentucky’s delegation.

“We went up there strictly for the students,” Senate President Tyler Fleck said. “It was for the students who are in college right now who are having to pay of all these loans.”

By putting a face to myriad college students, Fleck hoped that when Kentucky’s delegation voted, they would remember the conversations they had with SG.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Higher Education Act into legislation in 1965, with the intentions to provide financial assistance for students entering college. The act increased the amount of federal funding given to colleges and universities, helped create scholarships and gave low interest-rate loans to students.

Currently, the Perkins Loan is being phased out and many universities across the nation have stopped offering it. SG members wanted to ensure the delegation that phasing out low interest-rate Perkins Loans would have a negative effect on students across Kentucky.

“With tuition going up, it’s important that federal government offers low interest-rate loans to students,” Montell said.

Fleck said that he believed the trip to be successful overall, and he felt privileged to meet and speak to members of Kentucky’s delegation.

“It was great to represent the students,” he said. “I’m grateful I had the opportunity to go up there and express to our congressmen and senators the issues that matter to us students.”