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Deep Spending Cuts Threaten
Long Island University Students

Students and administrators alike are fearful — and angry —about recent state proposals to slash student financial aid programs.

Within days after the Governor proposed drastic reductions to student aid, scores of Brooklyn Campus students descended on legislators in Albany to demand support for vital funding. In the halls of the state capital, they buttonholed dozens of assembly and senate members, reminding them that students and their families not only depend on higher education funding, but that they vote and expect help from their representatives.

“I depend a lot on financial aid to help pay for my tuition,” said Katucia Ydore, a Brooklyn Campus sophomore who plans to become a nurse. “I vote and expect our state legislators tohelp out with education funds. This cut would affect me deeply,” she said.

Provost Gale Stevens Haynes, at a February 27 meeting of the state Assembly’s Brooklyn delegation, cautioned lawmakers that proposed cuts threatened the education finances of more than 10,000 Brooklyn Campus students.

“These cuts will have a disastrous impact on the lives of our students,” Provost Haynes said of proposals that include reducing funds for Tuition Assistance Program grants by one-third, cutting funds for the Higher Education Opportunity Program by one-half and eliminating the Science and Technology Entry Programs (STEP/C-STEP) and the Liberty Partnership Program.

“The typical Brooklyn Campus student is an African-American woman in her mid-20s, often with a child, who works to support herself while attending college. She receives funding from HEOP or TAP or loans or all three, as she struggles to achieve a better life for herself and her family. She is the person who will be most directly affected by these cuts to education,” Provost Haynes said, adding, “The saying, ‘Educate a man and you educate the individual – educate a woman and you educate a family,’ certainly applies here.”

President David J. Steinberg, in a message to the campus, said the budget cuts disproportionately target education programs and could total more than $7.1 million in lost assistance for students at Long Island University.

“Overall, education sustains the deepest cuts; no other area in the proposed state budget takes a greater hit,” President Steinberg said in a statement posted to the University Web site, www.liu.edu. He urged the community to e-mail messages voicing support for student aid to Governor Pataki and state legislators. (Easy links for e-mailing state officials are available at www.liu.edu and at the Web site for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, www.cicu.org.)

Governor Pataki proposed the cuts earlier this year as the state struggles to balance its budget. At press time, state legislators had not agreed on the new budget.

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