Article by Paige Smith
On Wednesday, February 28th, a group of Goucher students, all from Maryland, travelled to Annapolis, the capital of the state, to participate in MICUA Lobbying Day (or Independent Higher Education Day, IHED). MICUA stands for Maryland Independent College and University Association, an association “devoted to serving the interests of independent higher education and supporting the work of campus leaders throughout the state” (MICUA).
Dr. Mileah Kromer, Associate Professor of Political Science here at Goucher, states “every year, Goucher, along with the other Maryland independent colleges and universities, sends a delegation of students to lobby on behalf of private colleges and universities in the state. The purpose of these efforts is to ensure our continued state funding via the Sellinger Program and thank the legislators for past support.” Student representatives from schools like Loyola University, Hood College, and even Johns Hopkins University, were all in attendance.
Students had the opportunity to speak with Senators and Delegates of Maryland about why the Sellinger Program is important to them and their schools, as well as why their schools are important to Maryland. Here’s what first year student, Destiny Robinson, has to say about the Sellinger Grant and IHED day: “ I think it was a really good day to network. For me, it means a lot because it helps for me to afford to go to Goucher. I was kind of nervous, but they were really friendly and it’s nice to meet who represents my area. I think for any student, it’s good to go and talk about your school, especially if you really like where you go. I think Goucher is a really good school, being a first year.”
MICUA says “Today, the independent colleges and universities use the vast majority of the Sellinger funds (88%) to provide need-based grants and scholarships to Maryland residents. As a result, Marylanders have greater access, choice, and opportunities to enroll in college and pursue their dreams.” The Sellinger Program has, however, been underfunded since 2008. According to MICUA, “on a per-student basis, funding has dropped from $1,400 in FY 2008 to less than $950 today.” MICUA’s goal is to get the Sellinger Program back to where it was in 2008. Dr. Kromer says “IHED Day is a chance for Goucher College to remind our state legislators that the Sellinger Program supports some really fantastic students and colleges. Budgets are a battle of competing priorities and after six years of coordinating this event, I can confidently say that no one can make the case for funding independent colleges like our students.”
Also during the day, President Bowen was recognized on the floor of the House of Delegates for receiving the Ernest L. Boyer Award, which pays tribute to Ernest L. Boyer’s legacy by honoring others who are making significant contributions to American higher education, last month. Students were able to represent Goucher College in the Maryland State House as President Bowen was recognized for the award. The future of the Sellinger Program is looking as bright as the sunshine in Annapolis and is extremely important to Maryland students, as well as their schools.
For more information about MICUA and the Sellinger Program visit: http://www.micua.org/index.php/legislative-update/priorities