(Posted May 1, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- More than 200 students, administrators, and college presidents gathered in Harrisburg to lobby the state legislature Tuesday, April 4, on behalf of the independent sector of higher education. This Student Lobby Day was sponsored by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP).

Juniata College was represented by student lobbyists Jamie Dull, a senior from Trafford, Pa.; Ashley DeMauro, a sophomore from Trafford, Pa.; Lindsey Lanzendorfer, a freshman from Hollidaysburg, Pa.; Ken Tomlinson, a sophomore from Westmont, N.J.; Phil Copley, a sophomore from Paradise, Pa.; and Devin Rice, a junior from Osceola Mills, Pa. In addition, three Juniata faculty attended the event: Lorraine Mulfinger, associate professor of chemistry and director of science outreach; Don Mitchell, professor emeritus of chemistry; and Sharon Yohn, lecturer in environmental science and studies.

The students received a briefing of the legislative issues and requests from Dr. Mary Young, AICUP vice president for government relations. Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education, Dr. Gerald Zahorchak, followed Young by describing the Rendell Administration's educational initiatives.

The Juniata students spent the morning in the Capitol lobbying local legislators, including Rep. Larry Sather, Rep. Merle Phillips, Sen. Robert Jubilirer and Sen. Jake Corman. The students were lobbying for private higher education's three top requests in the state budget: an increase in the PHEAA Grant program (student aid) consistent with the Governor's proposed budget; capital funding for independent colleges and universities; and an increase in the Institutional Assistance Grant (IAG) program.

While students lobbied, the House of Representatives spent the day considering amendments to the state budget bill (HB 2499). Many legislators met students and presidents off-the-floor of the House while debate continued in the background. Two amendments implementing part of the AICUP budget request passed. Rep. Peter Zug (R-Lebanon) offered an amendment which added $4.0 million for debt service for capital projects at private colleges and universities, and Rep. Rod Wilt (R-Mercer) offered an amendment which added $2.4 million for the Institutional Assistance Grants (IAGs). The final budget will be negotiated between the Senate, House and Governor.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.