Preparing for petition drive canvassing at
CUSA's Albuquerque office
[Note: This blog entry was originally published on August 30 of 2006 and is repeated here as a reminder that higher education funding remains an issue for tens of thousands of students in New Mexico. The CUSA Office closed in November of 2006 following the election. For
more information on higher education funding initiatives visit League of
Young Voters at
NM League of Young Voters .]
Albuquerque, New Mexico - August 30, 2006 - A massive petition drive to stop an increase in student loan rates and stop major cuts in higher education funding has been launched by the Albuquerque office of Communities United to Strengthen America (CUSA). The petition is aimed at getting Heather Wilson to pledge her support to cutting NOT raising student loan interest rates and NOT supporting the Bush administration proposed cuts to Pell Grants and Work Study funds.
Initial figures, not widely released, reveal higher education enrolments this Fall in New Mexico may show significant declines. The declines can be linked to ever increasing student debt, and increasing pressure on New Mexico family income.
A hard look at the facts:
- Heather Wilson in March of 2006 voted against a measure which would have cut student loan rates in half.
- College graduates earn 73% more than high school graduates
- If the proposed Bush budget passes 5,756 students in Albuquerque alone would not receive enough Pell grant money to meet their tuition needs.
- If the proposed Bush budget passes, 1700 Albuquerque students would be denied the full benefits of Work-Study.
- Only 14% of New Mexico students are awarded Lottery Success Scholarships
- Lottery Success scholarships only cover 20% of students college costs
- Tuition and fees at public four-year public colleges and universities swelled 8 percent, faster than the 7 percent national average.
- At the University of New Mexico the number of students receiving federal loans grew 29% between 2001-02 and 2004-05.
An educated citizenry is not only a necessity in a democracy, it's an necessary building block in the foundation of a modern New Mexico economy - an economy where the skills and knowledge of the labor pool attract businesses to New Mexico and grow businesses which are already here. These concerns are expressed in a CUSA news release dated Friday, August 25, 2006.
"This is a major concern to me not only as a parent with college age kids, but because it adversely affects the population that I serve,” El Centro Director Veronica Mendez-Cruz said Friday. “If these cuts hit they are going to make things harder for middle-class and lower-income students throughout the state. We need our delegation to understand that these cuts will not help our community become educated. This is an insult to hard working families who are working two or more jobs to try to make ends meet and to ensure that their children have a better life.”