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Student Body Presidents Write Letter to Congress

March 12, 2019

Story by Jordan Baker

Statewide student associations representing more than 6.1 million college students on more than 400 campuses called on Congress today to develop solutions that match the massive scale of challenges facing students today. The letter specifies a range of policy issues for lawmakers to consider as the Senate HELP Committee and House Education and Labor Committee begin hearings to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA).

The student leaders who organized the letter recognize the urgency of policy reform, as students face growing and continued crises around equity, student finances, and campus safety. Ultimately, the letter reflects the need for policy to be heavily student-driven from design to implementation. That is why elected student leaders from across the country have come together to create a set of student-centered policy principles to help inform higher education policy decisions. The students are urging Congress to ensure that the design and implementation of future policy are truly student-centered.

“Now, more than ever, students must join together to uplift the student voice and ensure that the student perspective is present, loud, and heard at all levels of government. By working together, we can maximize our potential to create real change for students across the nation,” Michael Braun, 2018-19 President of the SUNY Student Assembly (SUNYSA).

In the letter, student leaders outline a set of principles they believe are critical to successfully addressing issues students experience every day. The letter asks lawmakers to consider the following priorities for HEA in a set of three major principles:

Cost should not be a barrier to high-quality postsecondary education

Equity is central to scaling student success

Higher education policy must protect students’ rights

“Students need to be heavily included in the HEA reauthorization process,” said Andy MacCracken, Executive Director and Co-founder of National Campus Leade.

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