Salt Lake Community College’s Student Life and Leadership is participating in Education First’s petition to lower tuition. The Board of Regents will present the petition to the Higher Education Appropriations Committee in the Utah State government.
“We need to emphasize and focus on higher education funding as the number one priority,” said Mike Bird, Student Association president at SLCC.
The space for name, signature, address, email and phone number give credibility and leverage to the petition. By having the address, government officials can see how many people in their districts support the mission of Education First.
Education First’s petition states that, “Fewer Utahns are earning college degrees than their peers based on a national average” and that “Since 2008, state funding of higher education in Utah has been cut 14 percent.”
According to its website, Education First is a Political Action Committee of Utahns from all walks of life who support education and will support candidates who put education first. Their goals include having third graders become proficient in reading and sixth grades proficient in math. They also want all high school students to graduate ready for college or for careers and for all qualified students to have access to higher education. To accomplish these goals, Education First seeks greater accountability, innovative teaching techniques and a higher investment in education.
The organization is looking to make Utah more economically viable through the education of the state’s students attending higher education institutions. Supporters include former Utah Governors Leavitt and Bangerter. The Student Life and Leadership of SLCC has several people going out with the petition.
“We, as students, need to take action in ensuring higher education not only for ourselves but also for future generations,” said Bird. “This is the start to be able to get something accomplished.”
SLCC clubs that turn in the most signatures will receive prizes – $800 for first, $250 for second and $150 for third. The Board of Regents gave $400 to cover some of the club prize money. At newspaper deadline, the Student Orphan Aid Program was in the lead.
There is also a competition amongst higher learning institutions with the prize being half a table at the Governor’s Gala. Tables at the Gala are $10,000 each.
“This opportunity has not come around for students in a very long time,” said Bird.
Student Life and Leadership has set the goal at 7,000 completed petitions for SLCC. Students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to sign the petition.
Completed petitions can be turned into any Student Life and Leadership office – on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, the Jordan Campus or the South City Campus.
Petitions may also be filled out online at educationfirstutah.org, but SLCC will not get credit toward the competition for them.
For students, a higher investment by the state government will lead to lower tuition and other costs.