Don’t let budget cuts hinder education


I have been harboring deep thoughts concerning the recent legislation that will affect our college and other colleges across the state. I’m not sure if your experience with Guilford has garnered the same types of feelings, so without further ado, here goes.

Surely you’ve heard by now that the program, which once offered residents of N.C. enrolled three-quarters time a $1,388 Legislative Tuition Grant and those enrolled full-time a $1,850 Legislative Tuition Grant, has been eliminated.

While there will be need-based financial aid offered in 2013, the funding will be less, which could very well translate into staff positions being cut and North Carolinians being unable to afford to take classes at Guilford College if the financial situation continues to worsen.

I don’t know how many people are like me. Guilford won me over as a school whose curriculum, professors and values promoted proactivity geared towards changing the community for the better, mixed with strong academic programs.

Granted, Guilford has worked for me. I’ve been intellectually evolving. I am interning at a fantastic organization and I write for an award-winning newspaper. Yet, none of this means a tinker’s damn if I don’t affect some kind of change in the face of these budget woes.

Whether it’s personnel cuts, increasing class size or students not being able to afford to come to Guilford, change is inevitably coming. I thought to myself, “Surely there is something we as students could do.”

In fairness to the college, there is very little the administration can do to directly change what legislation has abolished, except to be responsible stewards of people’s livelihood while also protecting the college from financial self-sabotage.

Contrary to some beliefs, the college has proven that it has students in mind  by subsidizing financial aid for N.C. residents in the current semester and embarking on a fundraising campaign to provide more financial aid in the years to come.

Guilford College hopes to raise $1 million in the next two years to help offset the college’s losses in state-funded financial aid for NC resident students.

They need your help.

Associate Vice President for Philanthropy Leigh McIlwain said the advancement office welcomes student involvement, though it is still ironing out the exact details.

“We have discussed the idea of asking for student testimonials to include in the materials we will share with potential donors,” said McIlwain. “Perhaps that is one way we can ask you and your fellow students to be more engaged in this process.”

Contact McIlwain at [email protected] and find out how you, too, can help counter these budgetary issues with your voice and story.

I want to be a part of change and advancement and not just by reading about it in books or discussing it in class. I want what I’m learning to manifest itself into meaningful action.

Though we can’t undo what the N.C. legislature has done to the education system, we can show them, through testimonials, that we won’t let their policies hinder others from receiving the education everyone deserves.