Students Fight Budget Cuts

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hundreds of university and college students gathered at the state capitol to protest budget cuts for the University System of Georgia. Student Government Associations and the new grassroots organization, Georgia Students for Public Higher Education, coordinated transportation to Atlanta for students from around the state. This is the second rally for West Georgia students who marched on Maple Street last week.

Administrators at West Georgia recently developed and submitted a proposed $8.1 million budget reduction plan to the Board of Regents. The request for the plan came after Georgia state legislators asked the University System of Georgia to draft a budget with an additional $300 million in cuts for the 2011 fiscal year.

In response, SGA presidents throughout the state met and created a student resolution protesting the severe cuts that could become a reality.

Graduate student Will Avery said any budget cuts and tuition increases would cause a hardship not only to students but also to their families.

“I’ve lived in Georgia all my life and largely I am concerned with the future of the state,” said Avery. “The best students and professors will leave Georgia because they won’t have the resources and the quality education they want and need.

“On a more personal level, with these kinds of cuts, I’ll lose the graduate assistantships that help with tuition costs and provide a small stipend to help support my wife and daughter. I’ll have all these classes that won’t mean a thing because they are cutting the education programs and I’ve got student loans that I won’t be able to pay.”

For a list of contacts at the state legislature, budget documents and commentary, go to http://www.westga.edu/budgetupdates/.