Arizona Students’ Congress set for August 1-3

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Students Get Priced Out of a Life

Earlier this week, Elizabeth Warren’s bill S. 2292 was filibustered in the US senate. This bill would of eased the financial struggles of millions of student-loan holders. To date, 1.2 trillion dollars of student debt exists. Do we think that Warren’s Bill was perfect? No. But we commend her efforts. Student loans are a huge issue for young Americans. Usually, middle age Americans drive the US economy by buying houses, cars and supplies for their children. In 20 years, our generation will be burdened with so much loan debt, that we will not qualify for a mortgage. All our hard earned money will be used to pay back our college loans at outrageous rates.

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UA Graduate and Professional Students- Apply to become an ASA Director today!

Arizona Students’ Association UA Graduate-Professional Student Director

State Date: June 1, 2013
End Date: May 31, 2014

Application Deadline: November 30th, 2013

Position Summary
The Arizona Students’ Association (ASA) is a statewide student advocacy association that was founded in 1974. ASA’s mission is to engage and empower all Arizona students. In 2013-2014, ASA is striving to build an organization that will provide leadership training for all students from high school students to graduate students. ASA’s activities center around voter registration, outreach, leadership training, and advocating for 550,000 Arizona students in community colleges and universities.

The ASA is led by a student-governed Board of Directors that includes student representatives from Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, and the University of Arizona. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are represented on the board. The University of Arizona wants to and is required to fill a Graduate Board Director position with either a graduate or professional student.

Arizona Students’ Association Directors are expected to work approximately 2-7 hours weekly in order to participate in statewide email conversations, committee calls, and board meetings held every two months. It is expected that the new Board Director will work closely with the Graduate and Professional Student Body President to represent University of Arizona graduate and professional students’ needs as well as represent the needs of all Arizona community college and university students.

View the full job description and application to apply HERE

Students Release Open Letter Calling for End of Government Shutdown

Phoenix—-Student representatives from the Arizona Students’ Association, National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, and United States Students Association have released an open letter strongly opposing the federal government shutdown. “The government shutdown harms American students, the American dream, and American competitiveness around the world,” states Anthony Hessel, NAU graduate student and ASA Legislative Chair.

Work impacted by the federal government shutdown includes federal investigations into university systems that have failed to protect students on campus and properly investigate sexual assault crimes, thousands of projects that address health, science, and defense-related research, Head Start childcare services, and veterans’ education support services. In addition, 11,000 researchers are barred access to the National Archives and work with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, and United States Parks has stopped.

The full letter can be found by clicking the READ MORE link:

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ASA statement on the United States District Court’s decision

The United States District Court’s decision to dismiss the Arizona Students’ Association’s (ASA) Lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) is an unfortunate decision for the student movement that advocates for accessibility and affordability of higher education in Arizona. ASA strongly disagrees with the Court’s ruling that the motives involved are unimportant. Motives are certainly relevant in First Amendment retaliation cases. ASA respects the District Court’s ruling, but has every intention to appeal the decision.

This lawsuit has never been about the Arizona Students’ Association as an entity. This lawsuit is about the students and ensuring that student voices are heard, considered, and respected, even if those voices disagree with those in charge. ASA filed suit against ABOR to redress the violation of free speech rights stemming from the Regents’ suspension and removal of the automatic $2 opt-out fee that was self-imposed by the students, and in place for fifteen (15) years at all three public universities. ASA firmly believes the change from opt-out to opt in, as well as the administrative fee implemented, were made in retaliation for its donation to the Proposition 204 campaign, which was a citizen initiative to dedicate funding to education in Arizona. The measure did not pass when put to voters. Despite the outcome, several members of the Board stated this was political in nature and that Proposition 204 was a factor in their decision. The Board of Regents should not be able to usurp a student referendum process and unilaterally ignore the ASA fee based entirely on the content of ASA’s speech.

The Legislature soon followed the Regents’ removal of the voluntary fee by eliminating the use of the student fee billing process by which students could voice their concerns outside the umbrella of the universities. It is beyond coincidence that the Legislature followed the Regents’ policy change with an almost identical piece of legislation at the State level, based on the exact same concerns with Proposition 204.

Arizona is setting a dangerous precedent for students across the nation. The attacks on students from the Regents and the Legislature are unprecedented. Students should be treated with respect. ASA believes that if the Regents’ truly valued the student voice as they claim, they would not have spent months attempting to strip and decrease the funding of the largest student advocacy group in Arizona, a group whose existence spans almost 40 years. There are more pressing issues facing higher education in Arizona and ASA is going to continue to concentrate on the challenges that students and families face when it comes to access and affordability. 


Please click here to read the original complaint
Click here to read the ASA order of July 31
Please click here to read the original motion to dismiss
Click here to read the response to the motion to dismiss

Join an ASA committee!

The Arizona Students’ Association uses both standing committees and ad-hoc committees to increase the efficiency of the organization. ASA’s five standing committees are Executive Affairs, Internal Affairs, Legislative Affairs, Financial Affairs, and Graduate Affairs. All committees are open to any students, with the exceptions of Executive Affairs and Internal Affairs. Check out the new committees tab for news and upcoming committee meetings that you can join and help make important decisions!

The US House of Representatives Supported Students by Passing Changes to Student Aid

On March 21st, the US House of Representatives passed sweeping changes to student aid as part of the reconciliation process. The changes to student aid programs will mean the largest investment in student aid in our country since the G.I. Bill. The Arizona Students?��Ǩ�Ѣ Association along the United States Student Association, the US Public Interest Research Group and Campus Progress were part of a national campaign to get Congress to support Students and not banks.

The changes in student aid will provide needed funding for student aid programs such as the Pell Grant, which aided 6 million students from 2007 ?��Ǩ��� 2008. It will also lower interest rates on need-based subsidized federal student loans, helping more than 5.5 million students across the country. Students will now have more access to the Perkins loan program by expanding the program to every college campus in the United States and students will be ensured a simpler FAFSA form that will make applying for financial aid easier. All the costs for the program are covered by ending the expensive subsidies to the banking industry which will save $87 billion dollars over the next ten years.

Students at Arizona universities worked around the clock during their spring breaks to ensure that their voices were heard and that they would, in fact, be supported with this bill.

On behalf of the Arizona Students’ Association, we would like to thank Congress members Giffords, Mitchell, Kirkpatrick, Grijalva and Pastor in this fight for funding.

News Releases

Students, Advocates Call on Senators McCain and Kyl to Reject Cuts to Education, Pell Grants

PHOENIX - As the U.S. Senate began negotiations to stave off a federal government shutdown, representatives from the Arizona Public Interest Research Group and the Arizona Students’ Association were joined by Moriah Costa, a Pell Grant recipient at Arizona State University, Regent Fred DuVal the Vice-Chair of the Arizona Board of Regents, and Craig Fennell the Executive Director of Student Financial Assistance at ASU to urge the Senate to protect vital investments to college aid and focus their spending on other cuts.

The House-passed spending resolution makes deep cuts to the Pell Grant while largely leaving in place wasteful subsidies and tax loopholes for special interests.  Pell Grants are the Federal governments’ cornerstone financial aid program that 9.4 million college students rely on each year to pay for the college courses that are fueling our recovering workforce and economy.

“Tough choices are supposed come only after the easy ones,” said Serena Unrein, Arizona PIRG’s Public Interest Advocate. ?

The cuts slash the maximum award a student can receive by $845, a little more than 15 percent, for the students who can afford it the least.  Next school year, a student currently receiving the $5,550 maximum award would see their aid dropped to $4,705. Because of the severity of these cuts, the average Pell award will drop $785 while 1.7 million students would lose access to their grant entirely. 

In Arizona, 555,000 students will receive a Pell grant next year. Should the House spending plan become law, our state will lose $319 million in Pell funding, a cut from $1.74 billion to $1.42 billion.*

“State cuts to higher education have increased tuition, pushing more costs onto students themselves,” said Elma Delic, Board Chair for the Arizona Students’ Association. “Any cuts to Pell funding now, especially in Arizona where state-based financial aid is lacking, will push thousands of students already at the tipping point out of school completely.”

“After graduation I plan on working to make my community better,” said Mariah Costa, a Pell recipient at student at ASU. “If my Pell Grant is cut I will be forced to face some very hard decisions, including dropping out of school altogether.”

Education drives economic growth. Eighty percent of the fastest growing jobs in America demand training above a high school level. Current estimates show America needs 22 million more degrees by 2018, however we are on pace to be 3 million short because of high college costs.

In the current economy, 43 states have already cut funding to higher education, pushing more costs onto students themselves. Rising costs will prevent over three million college qualified students from low and moderate-income backgrounds from getting a degree this decade. Pell Grant funding must be maintained in order to deliver the skilled workers our economy demands.

“State cuts to higher education have put a strain on our ability to train a skilled and educated workforce,” said Regent Fred DuVal.  “Cuts to federal aid would surely set Arizona on the wrong path to economic recovery.”

Arizona PIRG has helped identify over $600 billion in spending reductions over 5 years that have support across the political spectrum. The spending reductions detailed in our report amount to more than the reductions called for in the House passed resolution.

“Rather than cutting education and risking the health of our workforce and economic recovery, Congress should focus on other low-hanging fruit,” Unrein said. “We urge Senators McCain and Kyl to vote against any budget extension that includes cuts to Pell grants.”

District and State Pell information can be found here:
http://www.naicu.edu/special_initiatives/federal-student-aid-awarded-in-arizona-state-wide-and-by-congressional-district

Additional information on education cuts in HR 1 can be found at:
http://www.studentaidalliance.org/saa/What’s%20at%20Stake%20HR1.pdf http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3405

* Proprietary school data is counted in the state of the businesses headquarters.  All University of Phoenix students are counted in Arizona.
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