The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

Students encourage legislators to increase aid

By Haley Costen
Staff Writer

Last Monday, the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) held its annual Student Financial Aid Advocacy Day at the State House.

The event was held to thank legislators for a $3 million increase in the FY14 budget, and to encourage a continued momentum for the FY15 budget, according to an article by Brad Freeman, AICUM’s Director of Public Policy and Advocacy.

Simmons Director of Financial Aid Heather Patenaude was in attendance, along with representatives and students from nearly 30 colleges and universities from across the state.

“They call it FAFSA Day, but it’s really about thanking state legislators,” Patenaude explained. “It was a day for the legislators to hear from their constituents and to see how important it is to continue funding state programs; but not only to continue funding, but to increase funding to these programs.”

According to Patenaude, students were given the opportunity to talk to and share their stories with their own representatives so that the state representatives could fully understand what an impact state aid has on individuals. Students were also given formal thank you notes they could fill out and sent to their representatives.

One of the highlights for Patenaude was hearing House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senator Sal DiDomenico speak about state financial aid, along with sharing their own personal experiences with applying for financial aid.

“I liked that they looked at the fact that Massachusetts is such a highly educated state,” she said, adding that because of this, Massachusetts was one of the first states to recover from the collapse of the economy.

Patenaude demonstrated one of DeLeo’s points by pointing out that Massachusetts students, along with out of state students, often stay in Massachusetts after getting their education here, which bolsters the economy for generations.

While no Simmons students joined Patenaude at the event, other Colleges of the Fenway students from Wentworth, Wheelock, and Emmanuel were present and representing the schools in college T-shirts and sweatshirts.

“Everyone should write letters to their representatives to say thank you and let them know their personal stories,” Patenaude said. “Whether it’s an email, a phone call, a drop-in, or actually scheduling an appointment—that is how our government knows what we want, what we need.”
The Financial Aid Office is located in W103. They are open Monday through Friday and are available through appointment or walk-ins.

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