Scranton Participates in Washington Advocacy

Date: Feb 22, 2016

As part of the University’s ongoing government relations efforts, Gerry Zaboski, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and External Affairs, and Julie Schumacher Cohen, Director of Community and Government Relations participated in the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) annual conference and lobby day in January. 

Higher education advocacy priorities covered at the conference and raised during the lobby day included issues related to student aid, regulatory burden, institutional risk-sharing, oversimplification (particularly the “one-grant, one-loan” initiative), accreditation, and affordability. In particular, legislators were thanked for supporting the temporary extension of the Perkins Loan program, fully funding Pell Grants and restoring funding for the campus-based aid programs of Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOF) and Federal Work Study. 

As part of the NAICU effort, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (ACIUP) coordinated meetings with the two Pennsylvania Senators’ offices, including with Senator Casey (pictured above). As AICUP detailed, "Both Senators also supported the successful effort (led by Senator Casey) to keep the Perkins Loan program alive and also voted to fully fund the Pell Grant at a maximum of $5,845. Last year, students attending Pennsylvania colleges and universities received 48,275 Perkins awards totaling more than $104 million.  Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities also received nearly $1 billion in Pell Grants, making a college education more affordable to 265,584 students.” 

Zaboski and Schumacher Cohen also met with the office of Rep. Matt Cartwright, University alumni serving in Capitol Hill offices, and colleagues in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) federal relations network. In addition to higher education advocacy issues, Zaboski and Schumacher Cohen shared with Congressional offices activities the University conducted during the fall 2015 semester through its “In Solidarity in Syria” initiative and “Advocacy Corner” project to raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees, in cooperation with Jesuit partner organization, Jesuit Refugee Service. They also shared plans for upcoming spring 2016 campus efforts around issues related to poverty and the living wage.