Linda J. Lucy, staff assistant to Senator Tom Harkin, held a roundtable discussion this week about higher education issues at Upper Iowa University. Among those who met with Lucy were UIU President Alan G. Walker, top photo, and, in bottom photo, Student Government Association President Anthony DiJohn and recent UIU alum Cassandra Emerson.
FAYETTE, Iowa (August 12, 2011) - Linda J. Lucy, staff assistant to Senator Tom Harkin, came to Upper Iowa University this week to talk about higher education and to hear from UIU students, faculty and administrators. Harkin and his staff are traveling to all 99 counties to host a variety of town hall meetings and roundtable discussions about key issues faced by Iowans.
Among those in attendance were UIU President Dr. Alan G. Walker; Dr. Gail Moorman Behrens, director of teacher education and assistant professor of education and chair of the Education Division; Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, senior vice president for strategic positioning; Andrew Wenthe, vice president for external affairs; Jobyna Johnston, vice president for admissions and financial aid; Louise Scott, dean of students; Jean Barness, associate director of financial aid; Anthony DiJohn, Student Government Association president; and Cassandra Emerson, recent UIU graduate and graphic designer for Heartlanding, a primarily student-operated organization that provides services to area businesses as part of Upper Iowa's economic development outreach.
"Our discussion primarily focused around the current U.S. budget crisis and the importance of maintaining Pell grants to help deserving students afford college," Walker said. "We realize that cuts to the program may have to happen, but we must be careful and consider the impact on the ability of students to access the kind of education that will make a difference throughout their lives and make them citizens who contribute to the long-term well-being of this country."
"We have to continue public investment in students who are getting a good return on that investment," Walker added.
He noted that the Pell grants are an important factor in enabling a large number of students to attend college who would be unable to access high quality higher education without a combination of grants and scholarships, which don't have to be repaid down the line. This kind of "free" aid is especially important to the University's neediest students, he added, noting that on-campus 62 percent of UIU students are eligible for Pell grants and 48 percent are eligible University-wide.
"At UIU, we are committed to graduating students with the least debt possible, and we have an aggressive financial aid program that combines federal grants with institutional grants and scholarships. However, even with our strong institutional scholarship opportunities, it is extremely important to our ability to help students that all financial aid elements be kept in place," Walker said.
Wenthe said that Lucy noted that Senator Harkin appreciates the importance of continuing financial aid, especially because the GI Bill helped to finance his own college education.
"Upper Iowa University is very pleased that Senator Harkin views UIU as a thought leader in higher education and we will continue to be a resource for him," Khoury added. "We will work with him to help ensure that aid such as Pell grants continues to go to the students who need assistance most."
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to nearly 6,800 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.