Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lobbyist for a Day

by Laken P., Panther Blogger

The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG) is money awarded to Virginia residents who attend a private college in Virginia. The grant was created with the purpose of keeping students' education in the Commonwealth while offsetting the cost between private and public schools. This year, the governor has created a proposal to raise the VTAG amount, allowing students of Ferrum and other private colleges in Virginia to attend at a cheaper cost. The money is a free grant that students do not have to pay back, making the decision to attend Ferrum a little easier financially.

On January 28, I traveled to the state capital in Richmond with the Ferrum Financial Aid Office. We took a trip to visit with state senators and delegates to deliver thank-you letters for support of the VTAG program. The week before we went, students took a few minutes to write a short note to the representatives of their home district to thank them for working to keep the program in action. The goal behind the notes is to show that students are truly appreciative of the grant, and would like the government officials to keep the program in mind when they are voting on the upcoming budget.

While on the trip, we got to act as true lobbyists for our cause while experiencing the state government on a personal level. We personally visited several of the state's key legislators, which was an experience that I truly enjoyed. I have always been interested in how the government works, so having the chance to not only see it in person but also help current and future Ferrum students was an opportunity that I was very thankful to receive.

Not only was the trip educational, but I also enjoyed the opportunity to get away from campus for a couple of days. I love being at Ferrum, but sometimes it is nice just to take a break and get away for a few days.  Shopping at Short Pump and eating at the Cheesecake Factory was a well-appreciated break from class and homework. I had a great time on my trip, and I hope that because of our efforts, legislators will fight to not only keep the VTAG in act but also increase the amount to help students in the future.

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