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Feature

The United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The U's Legislative Network is hosting constituent meetings for alumni and friends to learn more about higher education legislation that's passed at the U.S. Capitol.

A chance to chat about federal issues

From eNews, March 2005

For many families across the state of Minnesota, federal financial aid is what makes college affordable and accessible. Almost 8,000 students on the U's Twin Cities campus receive federal financial aid. And proposed changes to federal student funding programs could significantly affect how many of these U students pay for college.

In its fiscal year 2006 budget released on Feb. 7, the Bush administration proposed significant changes to the student aid landscape, including enhancing the Pell Grant Program and eliminating the Perkins Loan program. (The Perkins Loan program provides almost $6.5 million in loans to U students at subsidized rates.)

Key federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation announced that they are likely facing their tightest budgets in decades. (In 2004, U researchers competed for and won more than $377 million in federal funds--about 16 percent of the U's annual budget.)

And this year, too, Congress will reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which is the main federal law that regulates financial aid, international studies, campus crime and safety, access to postsecondary education, teacher training, graduate education, and direct and guaranteed student loan programs.

U at the U.S. Capitol

To learn more about how federal dollars work for the University, read "Federal and state funding critical to U's strength" in the spring 2005 issue of M.

"Federal issues have a very real impact on the U community," says Mike Dean grassroots coordinator for the University's Legislative Network. "That's why we're organizing constituent meetings. These meetings are a great way for the U community, including alumni and friends, to learn more about federal higher education legislation and to share with elected officials how important federal funding to is to University students and researchers."

Thus far, constituent meetings have been scheduled with Congresswoman Betty McCollum's and Senator Norm Coleman's offices. The meeting with Jim Smith, regional affairs director in Sen. Coleman's office, will take place on Tuesday, March 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the senator's office in St. Paul. The brown bag lunch session with McCollum will occur on Thursday, March 31, at noon in Room 105 Cargill Building on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul. To learn more about the meetings or to register for one, see www.umn.edu/groots

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