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Vol.26, No. 19 Apr. 9, 2001

Columbia Students Storm Washington, Meet with Senators, Representatives to Lobby for Aid Programs

By Susan Long

Thirty-one Columbia and Barnard students and administrators visited Washington D.C. on April 4 to take part in Columbia’s annual Student Lobby Day.

The group, joined by 30 students from Cornell, spent the day with members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. They had meetings in the offices of 68 members of Congress from 21 different states.

The students sought for support for the federal student aid programs, including a $600 increase in the maximum Pell Grant, an increase in the Supplemental Educational Grant Program (SEOG) to $791 million, a $39 million increase in funding for work-study, a $40 million increase for Perkins Loans and a $17 million increase in student aid for graduate Javits Fellowship and graduate assistance in areas of national need (GAANN). Student had a chance to speak about the student aid programs that are important to them.

The day began with a breakfast briefing during which Columbia alumnus Jeff Cohen (CC ’98) spoke to the group about working on Capitol Hill. Cohen had participated in the student lobby trip twice as a Columbia student. He is currently working as a legislative aide to Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.)

Steve Johnson, assistant vice president and executive director of Government Affairs for Cornell, and Ellen S. Smith, assistant vice president and director of Government Relations at Columbia, gave a briefing on the federal student aid programs and other education issues. At the end of the day, Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) wished the group well and thanked them for their advocacy efforts on behalf of the student aid programs.

The Student Lobby Day is organized by Columbia’s Office of Government Relations.