Across UW campuses, blue postcards were handed out urging students to support the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant Indexing Bill. Friday, UW-Eau Claire’s United Council hosted a postcarding event in Davies to inform students of the WHEG Indexing Bill and its affects on students.
Since 1960, it has been the United Council’s job to lobby across the state to make education more affordable and accessible for students, according to Eau Claire United Council’s delegation leader, sophomore Amber Bretl.
“The WHEG grant is given to students who need financial aid,” said Bretl. “When tuition is increasing, the financial aid isn’t as equivalent.”
The WHEG Indexing Bill benefits all the students who receive the WHEG grant, but ultimately all students benefit because it works against raising tuition.
Many students were unaware that a bill like this was in consideration. Sophomore Jake Skalitzky was among those students.
“I’ve heard absolutely nothing,” Skalitzky said. “I think it’s a great idea because it’s keeping college affordable on a whole.”
The postcarding process will wrap up when the cards end up in the hands of Assembly Speaker Michael Huebsch. Bretl said that after all of the member campuses have the postcards completed, they are hand delivered to Madison where they’ll be left on Huebsch’s desk. Ultimately, the council wants to make the legislators address their concerns and make a statement, Bretl said.
“Hopefully we can change Speaker Huebsch’s mind about this bill,” Bretl said. “And get support from other legislators, as well.”
John Murray, a spokesman for Huebsch, said if the speaker was presented with a bill like this, he would have to take a look at the physical complications of it.
“I think the speaker would be willing to take a look at the bill . they are usually dealt with separately in the budget,” Murray said.
According to Murray, issues concerning tuition are controlled by the Board of Regents. “Legislature doesn’t control tuition increases,” he said.
He said Republicans froze tuition at the current level, and holding tuition occurs directly or indirectly. A considerable amount of money has already been put into the budget in support of the WHEG programs, and looking at the dollars to the WHEG programs is important, Murray said.
“It’s important to keep cost down any way possible,” junior Colin Hall said about the bill. “Honestly, if there was a way to keep it down, why wouldn’t they?”
During the postcarding event, Bretl said the turnout was going pretty well. “We’ve been doing it for about an hour and have had 100 postcards filled out,” she said. “We hope other campuses have as much success.”
Looking ahead, the council’s next event will address the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Bills. However, Bretl said, the WHEG Indexing Bill was a big one and she hopes the students will be heard.
“Education should be a right to all American citizens,” Skalitzky said. “Why are we limiting?”