Bill Robinson and Thayne McCulloh’s letter to the Spokane Spokesman-Review

Submitted February 26, 2010

Editor,

During even the best of economic times, good and important causes compete for limited resources. In what are arguably the worst circumstances the state has faced for generations, the Governor and the Legislature are faced with impossible choices. We are therefore grateful for and support the Governor’s revised budget request, which restores funding for the State Need Grant for low-income college students.

This revision recognizes the essential role higher education plays in equipping the next generation of educated citizens to revitalize Washington’s economy. State Need Grants open the door for students to attend Washington’s great public and independent institutions. Gonzaga and Whitworth receive no direct funds from the state; many students who attend our schools are able to do so because State Need Grants – in combination with our own financial assistance – make college affordable, ease the burden on taxpayers, and create additional capacity for enrollments at public institutions. Over 73,000 students statewide benefit from the State Need Grant program.

We urge the legislature to restore funding for the State Work Study program as well. Students earn financial aid and gain valuable work experience; employers throughout the state and city, particularly those in key social and service agencies, are able to serve clients at organizations such as the YWCA, Spokane Mental Health, and the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.

In tough economic times, investment in aid to students is one of the smartest, and most strategic, investments we can make to create a brighter future for Spokane and the state.

Bill Robinson President, Whitworth University

Thayne McCulloh President, Gonzaga University