SMC Students Lobby State Legislators on Cal Grants

Jordan Raya '09, state Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Katie Anthony '11 at the State Capitol on March 11.Jordan Raya '09 and Katie Anthony ‘11 joined students from around California at the State Capitol on March 11 to urge lawmakers to maintain the current level of funding for the Cal Grant Program, which helps students pay for college.

"I am now working two jobs and taking a full load of classes," Raya said. "If the Cal Grant is reduced next year, I don't know what I will do. I am so close to graduating."

California faces an unprecedented $16 billion budget deficit in 2009 and dramatic, across-the-board cuts are forecast.

During their visit to Sacramento, Anthony and Raya had a private meeting with state Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who provided them with background on this year's state budget process.

The students also met key legislative staffers for state Assembly members Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, Guy Houston, R-San Ramon and Ira Ruskin, D-Redwood City, as well as staffers for state Senators Don Perata, D-Oakland and Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch.

Anthony and Raya provided the leaders first-hand accounts of their experiences with the Cal Grant program and conveyed a compelling argument for the continuation of the Cal Grant Program.

"Since three-quarters of all Cal Grant recipients are female, I felt it was important to share my personal story with the legislators," Anthony said. "I have a twin brother and I told them that if it wasn't for the Cal Grant program, it would be difficult for my parents to send me to Saint Mary's."

--Tim Farley
Office of College Communications