During the last week of June 2017, the Cal State Student Association partnered with the University of California Student Association, the State University of New York Student Assembly, and the University Student Senate of the City University of New York in a joint federal advocacy trip, the first of its kind.
Our group, led by President’s Maggie White, Ralph Washington from UCSA, Marc Cohen from SUNYSA, and Chika Onyejiukwa from USS CUNY, engaged Senate and House leadership to discuss critical issues that affect students. Notable meetings included Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), Senate HELP (Health, Education Labor & Pensions) ranking member Patty Murray (WA), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA), and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris (CA).
During these meetings, we address concerns about threats to the public service loan forgiveness program, and the federally subsidized loan program, as well as concerns about the enforcement of student civil rights issues through the department of education. While those conversations went well, with commitments from those we met with to fight for these programs, other issues emerged that will affect students.
In nearly all meetings, we were told about ongoing concerns to the Affordable Care Act. Though CSSA does not have a position on the health care program, impacts to Medicaid expansion in California could have a crippling effect on public higher education in the state, but potentially cutting $24 billion in federal funds from our state budget.
We look forward to continuing to nurture and expand our partnerships with our state system student representatives, to ensure that students’ voices are heard when issues that directly impact us are being decided.