Palo Alto University Represented at 2017 Day in the Capitol to Add to Discussion of Proposed Cal Grant Changes

Friday, March 10, 2017
This February Palo Alto University (PAU) alumna, Madison Steele, represented the university in Sacramento for Day in the Capitol. The annual event brings students, faculty and staff members from colleges and universities across California, to the capitol for the opportunity to engage with their state government on important issues. 
One of these important issues for our university are impending changes to the Cal Grant, part of which includes a 11.3% decrease in funding for students at private institutions.  Leading up to the Day in the Capitol,  and with Dr. O’Connor’s support, the PAU community sent letters to our Representatives and Congresspersons outlining the hardship these changes could bring to our students. 
On the day of the event, students and administrators visited more than 100 legislative offices in Sacramento. 
Giving voice to this issue is particularly meaningful for Madison, an alum of our Business Psychology program, as she was a Cal Grant recipient.  
“I wasn’t eligible for the Cal Grant until my senior year,” said Madison. “Before being eligible for the Cal Grant I worked three jobs and collected food stamps so I could continue my education and support myself through college. Receiving the Cal Grant was liberating- I was able to quit one of my jobs, which allowed me to focus more on school. I was finally able to pay for books and other school related expenses”.
If the proposed changes to Cal Grant are voted into effect, Palo Alto University students will face losing approximately $1,200 each in aid annually. 
“With The Bay Area salaries set in response to the high cost of living here, on paper my parents made too much money for me to qualify for any federal funding.  The Cal Grant was my saving grace because it took into account the cost of living in California,” said Madison. “Thousands of students and families face similar struggles regarding financial aid and affordability. Which is why I felt compelled to tell my story in hopes of helping future generation peruse their academic goals and dreams.”
Madison’s experience, while not unique, played a big role in her passion and commitment to ensure that decision makers in the capitol truly understand how devastating any cut to the Cal Grant program can be both for PAU students and other students like her across the state. 
If you would like to advocate for the repeal of the Cal Grant cut,  click here, or write to your local representative. 
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