When John Carroll University first heard about Governor Ted Strickland’s proposed budget cut for the fiscal year of 2008 – 2009, they knew that it would have a large impact on JCU students. In fact, proposed budget cuts would affect more than 1,900 JCU students – more than half of the entire student body.
The proposed budget would cut funding for the Ohio Student Choice Grants (SCG). Right now, the grant is entitlement based. This means that all college students attending private institutions in Ohio, who are also Ohio residents are entitled to receive SCG. Currently, Ohio residents who meet these credentials receive $900 per year to aid in tuition. If Strickland’s proposed budget were to pass, the SCG will become need based.
According to Jerry Sheehan, associate vice president of government and community relations, there has been progress with the SCG. In fact, Sheehan said, “On May 1, the House passed a budget bill that will qualify any person whose family income is less that $95,000 to qualify for an SCG next year.”
This is an increase from the originally proposed $75,000 and an estimated $20.5 million more dollars for students than the originally proposed budget. The House bill now moves to the Senate, who will prepare their own bill.
This is what Sheehan says JCU students should advocate for. Sheehan said, “We’ve got to keep the pressure on to restore full funding and to keep the program as an entitlement rather than convert it to a need-based grant program.” He suggested several things that students can do in an effort to keep the SCG an entitlement based grant. Students are encouraged to visit a Web site, SaveStudentChoice.com to learn about how to contact their representatives.
At this point, he said it is especially important to contact members of the Ohio Senate and the governor to request full funding for SCG. He said, “Urge other students, other faculty and parents to contact their representatives.”
Patrick Prosser, director of financial aid, said, “This could have an impact on the University. We are always trying to help out students.”
The state budget for the fiscal year of 2008 – 2009 has to be signed by Gov. Strickland by June 30.