Tuesday, April 6, 2010

SBU Email-Writing Campaign April 6 to Protect Funding for State Program Scholarship

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Southwest Baptist University students, faculty, and staff are attending an e-mail writing campaign April 6 to urge state legislators to protect Access Missouri Scholarship and Bright Flight funding for all students in both the public and private sectors of higher education.

The campaign is planned to occur between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Room 243 in Jester Learning and Performance Center on the Bolivar campus.

Students, faculty, and staff at SBU’s Salem, Mt. View, and Springfield campuses are urged to e-mail and call their state legislators and the Governor’s office as well.

Governor Jay Nixon recently stated that he is seeking to eliminate 15,500 independent college students from the Access Missouri and Bright Flight financial aid programs. Nixon's proposal would make Missouri the only state in the country that does not provide financial aid to students attending independent institutions. SBU currently has more than 700 students participating in the Access Missouri and Bright Flight scholarship programs. This represents nearly $1.2 million in financial aid (tuition) that goes to the students, not the University.

Bills are pending in the Missouri House and Senate that would “equalize” Access Missouri scholarship amounts to students of four-year public and independent colleges and universities at a maximum of $2,850 per year, a level of support agreed to by members of the higher education community.

The Missouri Coalition of Independent Colleges and Universities, which has been working to keep the Access Missouri program from being taken away from the independent sector of higher education, is encouraging legislators to keep Access Missouri in place for students attending public and independent colleges in our state so that students with financial need have access to state financial aid. They also are encouraging the elimination of the "sunset clause" which would terminate the Access Missouri program in 2013. Finally, the group is asking legislators to hold harmless students who are already receiving Access Missouri awards.

"We are encouraging everyone to write the Governor and their state senators and representatives to let them know they need to support legislation to continue the Access Missouri Scholarship program for all Missouri college students. Cutting funding to students who choose to attend a private college or university would be harmful to both students and our state," said Brad Gamble, SBU director of financial aid.

Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. Since 1878, the faculty and staff have created a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. The University has been named one of America’s Best Christian Colleges® for 13 consecutive years, one of America’s 100 Best College Buys® for 14 consecutive years, and it has been named among institutions with America’s Best College Scholarships ® for the past three years by Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc. For more information, visitwww.SBUniv.edu.

SBU’s Office of Marketing and Communications is available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 399-7918. Visit the SBU Office of Marketing & Communications online at www.SBUniv.edu/news.