2012-3-1-Lobbying-on-Beacon-Hill

Lobbying on Beacon Hill

Students meet with Robert DeLeo, BA’72, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
March 1st, 2012

Stanislas Phanord’s mother died in 2009, forcing him to take cus­tody of his younger brother.

If not for need-​​based state and fed­eral financial-​​aid pro­grams, he would not have had the oppor­tu­nity to become a third-​​year polit­ical sci­ence and inter­na­tional affairs dual major at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. Instead, he would have had to con­tinue sup­porting his brother by bag­ging groceries.

“None of this would be pos­sible without finan­cial aid,” he explained, noting that his parental role has “encour­aged me to work harder.”

Phanord was among more than a half dozen North­eastern stu­dents who par­tic­i­pated in Stu­dent Finan­cial Aid Day at the State House on Tuesday after­noon. The Asso­ci­a­tion of Inde­pen­dent Col­leges and Uni­ver­si­ties in Mass­a­chu­setts orga­nized the pro­gram, which drew some 200 stu­dents from roughly three dozen col­lege and uni­ver­si­ties throughout the state.

The stu­dents criss­crossed the building, meeting with state sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives to push for con­tinued sup­port of need-​​based finan­cial aid pro­grams. Both Northeastern’s Gov­ern­ment Rela­tions and Stu­dent Finan­cial Ser­vices offices helped pre­pare the stu­dents for the event, as part of the university’s ongoing com­mit­ment to pro­tect need-​​based state and fed­eral aid for higher education.

Robert DeLeo, BA’72, Speaker of the Mass­a­chu­setts House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, met pri­vately with the North­eastern con­tin­gent. Prior to the meeting, he encour­aged all stu­dents in their Tuesday ses­sions with sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives to explain how finan­cial aid has affected their col­lege careers.

“Let them know what finan­cial aid means to you in terms of con­tin­uing your edu­ca­tion in Mass­a­chu­setts,” he told stu­dents, whom he referred to as “our future.” “The best lob­bying we can get is from hearing sto­ries about what this means to each and every one of you.”

North­eastern stu­dent Dylan O’Sullivan took DeLeo’s cue by dis­cussing the impor­tance of finan­cial aid with Senate Majority Whip Har­ri­ette L. Chandler.

Finan­cial aid helped the fourth-​​year polit­ical sci­ence major com­plete a co-​​op in Wash­ington, D.C., as a leg­isla­tive assis­tant for U.S. Rep. James McGovern of Mass­a­chu­setts, who sits on the House Com­mittee on Rules.

“I wouldn’t be at North­eastern if not for finan­cial aid,” O’Sullivan told Chan­dler. “I have three younger sib­lings who want to go to col­lege, so I think it’s some­thing that needs to continue.”

Chan­dler empathized with O’Sullivan’s call to pre­serve funding for finan­cial aid, noting, “I could not have grad­u­ated from col­lege without it.”

“We’re the edu­ca­tion state,” she added. “If we don’t [sup­port] it, then who will?”

by Jason Kornwitz


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