SGA aims to save state-funded tuition grant

Student body president Trenton White said at last week’s senate meeting that SGA plans to fight the recently renewed push from state legislators to do away with the Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant, a scholarship that helps subsidize tuition costs at in-state private universities like Mercer.

White called on students to contact their local legislators to express support of keeping GTEG funding in place for the coming fiscal year. He also tasked senators with the job of making sure their fellow students know that they could lose some of their scholarship money if the grant gets axed.

“It’s important for our state to make college affordable for all students. It’s also important for students to have a variety of institutions to choose from, especially small liberal arts colleges like Mercer. GTEG helps make that possible,” White said.

Senior senator Brittany Francis will head up SGA’s initiative to save the grant. Francis said she’ll use SGA’s resources to raise student awareness on the issue.

Kruti Desai, a junior from Rome, said she’s been receiving GTEG funding since her freshmen year. Desai said she’s opposed to the grant being taken away because it would trim her scholarship package.

“It would put more stress on my parents to pay the difference if it were cut,” Desai said.

Ellen Begley, a sophomore from Atlanta, said that although she doesn’t receive GTEG funding personally, she thinks it’s important to keep the grant in place for the sake of her fellow students.

“I wrote my legislator the last time they tried to take the grant away. I think everyone in our state should have access to a quality education,” Begley said.

Record state budget shortfalls have put GTEG funding under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks from Georgia legislators, many of whom view cutting the grant as a potential austerity measure that could save the state millions. Backers of the grant say trimming higher education scholarships should be avoided at all costs.

Also during last Monday’s senate meeting:

  • SGA fiscal affairs chair Khoi Le said 16 student organizations have yet to claim their Bear Grant checks allocated last fall. Le said that if organizations do not pick up their money before the April deadline, it will reflect poorly on them as well as SGA.
  • SGA is working with Mercer’s information technology department to create a voting app for mobile phone and iPad use. A representative will demonstrate the app at next week’s senate meeting.