UC students rally to protect Cal Grant funding

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Students from UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara rallied Wednesday at the state office building in downtown L.A. to support funding for the statewide Cal Grant scholarships.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has wavered this year on whether to cut some state-funded college scholarships under the Cal Grants program. Jasmine Hill, UCLA’s student body president, said she showed up to the rally organized by the UC Student Association because the $7,000 Cal Grant she received as a freshman two years ago was a godsend. Cutting the program, she said, would hurt the California economy. "We’re basically saying to low income folks, ‘We don’t want you in higher education.’"

Several dozen students marched in front of the State of California building holding up homemade signs and chanting their support for Cal Grants.

Dieu Huynh, a second-year UCLA political science major, said the Cal Grant program helped his older sister go on to graduate school. "I receive about $8,000 from Cal Grants, it’s a good big chunk of my tuition and housing. It does give me peace of mind, it does let me know that I’m going to come back to school next year."

Earlier this year the governor proposed saving $45 million by cutting some Cal Grants that would go to more than 22,000 California college students. Governor Schwarzenegger pledged a few months ago to keep his budget axe away from public higher education funding. University students are eager to find out if he’ll keep his word in his latest budget proposal to be released on Friday.

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