SGA to travel to Frankfort for lobbying efforts

Dustin Skipworth

Representatives from the WKU Student Government Association are traveling to Frankfort on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to meet with Kentucky commonwealth representatives.

The meeting will focus on impacts of higher education funding cuts outlined in Gov. Matt Bevin’s recent budget proposal.

“It’s going to speak volumes,” SGA Vice President Nolan Miles said.

Miles organized the lobbying effort and set up meetings with three state representatives.

Those representatives include Jody Richards, Derrick Graham and Johnny Bell. SGA is also slated to meet with one state senator, Sen. David Givens.

According to SGA President Jay Todd Richey, the WKU representatives will focus on two main lobbying points: a reduction of budget cuts to higher education and 100 percent restoration of need-based financial aid.

The Kentucky Legislature is scheduled to vote on Bevin’s proposed budget on March 1.

The budget includes a 4.5 percent cut to state universities’ funding now and a 9 percent cut next fiscal year.

Need-based financial aid — especially lottery funded financial aid — has been a hotly debated topic in recent years. About 62,000 students were denied need-based financial assistance last year after the legislature moved $28 million in financial aid from the lottery fund to the general fund. Bevin’s budget proposal allows lottery funds to be used for special workforce programs for students rather than need-based programs.

SGA senator Hannah Neeper has high hopes for the Tuesday meetings.

“Actually going there shows more dedication to WKU students,” Neeper said. “Being face-to-face with someone is important.”

To prepare WKU representatives, organizers will distribute talking points and statistics relating to the budget cuts and financial aid.

“We’re preparing them with knowledge to properly represent WKU students,” said Miles. “We want to make this as seamless as possible.”

Representatives lobbying in Frankfort will leave at about 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to make their scheduled meeting time.

SGA is working to provide transport through WKU, but if they can’t, they hope to carpool.