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USF Students Head to Tallahasee to Talk Education Funding


A few busloads of students from all three University of South Florida campuses will be heading to Tallahassee on Tuesday to meet with state lawmakers.

At least 70 students, along with university officials including President Judy Genshaft and head football coach Willie Taggart, will take part in USF Day at the Capitol.

They'd like to talk to legislators about a number of issues, including in-state tuition for veterans.

But USF Student Government President Brian Goff says the major topic of discussion will be funding for higher education.

"Consistently since 2007, we've seen continued budget cuts to the higher education budget," Goff said. "So the hope is that we can get the message across to them that we want them to reinvest in our future, to reinvest in our education and stop shifting the burden onto the backs of the students and their families."

The group hopes to ask legislators to restore 300 million dollars for state universities in this year's budget, as well as invest an additional $118 million. To support their case, they'll deliver several hundred handwritten postcards created by students, their families and university faculty and staff as part of the statewide "Aim Higher" project.

Goff adds that it's important that lawmakers hear from students about their concerns directly.

"It's going to be far more impactful for a student to get up there and say, 'Listen, I already work a full-time job just to pay for my classes as it is. If you keep cutting budgets and tuition and fees keep going up, I'm going to have to go from being a full-time student to a part-time student, and it's going to take me that much longer. It's going to cost me that much more to get my degree.'"

The students will set up tables inside the Capitol to spotlight some of the different services and programs that USF provides that benefit the bay area and Florida.

One group will depart from USF's Tampa campus by bus at 5:30 a.m. For more information, call the USF Student Government office at 813-974-2401.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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