A note from the editor…Just pick up the phone

I n 1961, Vermont promised to support its public college system, “in whole or in substantial part with State funds.” Right now, the college system is “supported” by the state at 17 percent.

What part of “substantial” does the legislature not understand?
This is a problem. I’ve written about this before, and I’ll continue to do so until something changes. Right now, students like me shoulder the burden of the debt of the VSCS.

This is something we can fix, but we’re going to need help from the very people we elected: Sen. Philip Baruth, Sen. Debbie Ingram, Sen. Ruth Hardy, Sen. James McNeil, Sen. Corey Parent, and Sen. Andrew Perchlik.

Baruth and Ingram are from Chittenden County. Hardy is from Addison County. McNeil is from Rutland County. Parent is from Franklin County, and Perchlik is from Washington County.
We don’t come to college to leave with debt. We come to college to enrich ourselves and make both ourselves and the world a better place.

No matter who you are, if you attend Northern Vermont University or another VSCS school, you are affected by the subpar funding that the Vermont Legislature is providing.

This is how you can fix it: call your senators. Even if you don’t come from the places they do, let them know that you’re affected by their decisions as much as any in-state Vermonter.

“Hi [Senator], my name is [your name] and I am a student at Northern Vermont University – Johnson. I live in [county] [or in [state]]”
It’s good to give your personal experience; you should explain to this particular senator why an increase in funding for the VSCS would benefit both you and your peers.

Here’s how I phrased my call.

“Hi [Senator], my name is Rebecca and I am a student at Northern Vermont University – Johnson.”

“While I don’t live in Vermont, most of my peers do, and I understand the need for an increase in funding for the Vermont State college system. I worry quite a bit about the cost of college and how much debt I’m going to accrue while I’m here.”

“While I come from a family with money, I know that I am again in the minority. I’m gonna come out with minimal debt, but I can’t say the same for others. The students here are struggling, Senator [last name]. You were elected because your constituents believed in your ability to do good for their county, and for the state of Vermont. “

“As I said, I don’t live here, but I do benefit from the state funding for Vermont higher ed. Like my peers, I want to stay here after college because it’s a gorgeous place, but if I can’t find a job and I’m crushed under the weight of college debt, I’m going to go somewhere else.”
“Please, for the sake of all the native Vermonters and out-of-state college students, push for the increase that Jeb Spaulding, our chancellor, has asked for. Again, my name is Rebecca. I am free to answer any of your questions you may have. My email is [email]. Thank you, and have a nice day.”

We as students need to advocate for ourselves, and when we do they will hear us. Go to legislator.vermont.gov and pick a senator.

This is our future, our money. We can make a difference. Just pick up the phone.

–Rebecca Flieder, Editor-in-Chief