Mercer University President William Underwood, in an e-mail evidently sent to alumni this last week, extols them to protest any cut to the Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Program, targeted to be eliminated from the budget. In the missive, Underwood makes this ludicrous point:
For many of our students, this $1,000 grant makes the difference in being able to attend Mercer.
Really? That’s amazing since one year of undergraduate tuition (including room and board) at Mercer costs approximately $37,476. Just who are these parents who can afford $36,476 to have their child attend Mercer but just soil themselves when the bill is revised upward $1,000.00? If you said that scholarships make up the difference, I would tend to agree, but I doubt that in the final estimate children are denied an ability to attend Mercer because of $83 dollars a month.
In the midst of a recession, billions of dollars are being cut across the board in the State budget. Students in state schools are facing tuition increases. But for William Underwood, he’d rather cry for his University and shriek like a little girl over the temerity of elected officials who think that in a time of budgetary constraints everyone should be treated equally and that Mercer University should handle a little bit of the budgetary load.
Underwood’s full letter after the jump…
Dear Mercer Alum:
I am grateful for the assistance many Mercer alumni from across the state have provided in helping advocate for the Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant program, which has been targeted for elimination in the Governor’s proposed budget.
This program, which was established in 1974, provides approximately $1,000 per year to Georgia residents who attend private colleges and universities. Many Mercer alumni – perhaps you – directly benefited from this program, which contributes to making a Mercer education affordable. Today, 29,000 Georgia families directly benefit from this program. The purpose for the TEG is to preserve private higher education as an option for Georgia residents and thereby preserve a rich diversity of higher education choices for our citizens.
For many of our students, this $1,000 grant makes the difference in being able to attend Mercer. Eliminating this program could force many students at private colleges and universities into an already overburdened and overcrowded state system, where the cost to taxpayers per student exceeds $7,000. As a result, the proposed elimination of the Tuition Equalization Grant would adversely impact the quality of higher education available to students from Georgia, would diminish the higher education options available to those students, and cost taxpayers more than would be saved.
We are making progress in our efforts to preserve this vitally important program. However, more work is required. Many Mercer alumni have already contacted their representatives in the Georgia House of Representatives, and their voices are being heard. Our students now need you to contact your representative in the Georgia State Senate as soon as possible to advocate restoring this program. If you attended Mercer after 1974, be sure to tell your senator how important the program was to you and your family.
Contact information for your state senator is available at http://www.congress.org/congressorg/state/main/?state=GA&view=myofficials – 0.
Our students appreciate your assistance.
William D. Underwood