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Student Aid Alliance

Colleagues:

Ninety percent of our Elizabethtown College students receive some form of financial aid. While the largest portion of aid (51 percent) comes from our own institution, student loans account for 17 percent of the aid offered to our students, the second most important source of funding.

About a week ago, the Student Aid Alliance, a coalition of more than 60 higher education associations -- including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), to which we belong -- launched a nationwide effort to get signatories for a simple statement of support urging Congress to continue its funding of the federal student aid programs. Since Oct. 24, more than 40,000 Americans have signed their names to this statement of support.

This bipartisan, diverse and overwhelming support for student aid -- especially from NAICU members -- will help shape the budget endgame in Washington. We have the power to influence deliberations as Congress works toward a deal on the deficit and on this year's spending bill for Pell, campus-based programs, TRIO, GEAR UP and graduate education programs. Our own director of financial aid, Elizabeth McCloud, was in Washington D.C. earlier this week meeting with congressmen and legislative assistants to advocate for ways to resolve deficits in federal aid programs without reducing funding for highest need students.

I encourage our Elizabethtown College community to continue this advocacy for our students by signing the Student Aid Alliance statement.

I hope you will join me in lending your Elizabethtown College voices to this issue.

Sincerely,

Carl Strikwerda
President

P.S. In related information, the Elizabethtown College student loan default rate declined from 1.2 percent to just 1 percent -- one of the lowest loan default rates in the country. Our students have been counseled and prepared to successfully repay their loan commitments, a fitting demonstration of the value of their Elizabethtown education.

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