College students rally in Montgomery for higher education - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

College students rally in Montgomery for higher education

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Hundreds of college students showed up in Montgomery for a higher education rally on Thursday. (abc3340.com) Hundreds of college students showed up in Montgomery for a higher education rally on Thursday. (abc3340.com)
© Governor Robert Bentley was in attendance for the higher education rally on Thursday. (abc3340.com) © Governor Robert Bentley was in attendance for the higher education rally on Thursday. (abc3340.com)
MONTGOMERY - AL -

College students want more funding for higher education and help covering tuition costs. The students weren't shy about asking lawmakers for money Thursday. Most of them have done it repeatedly to afford their education especially after costs increased by nearly nine percent this year for some.

Rivalries were put aside for the day as students from universities across the state gathered in Montgomery for Higher Education Day.

"We are not here to be complacent. We are here to be loud," said Gordon Stone of the Higher Education Partnership. 

They needed to be loud enough to get their share of the wealth- 1/3 of the education budget.

"Even though it's been real small, we've increased the percentage every year," said Governor Robert Bentley of the extra funding going to the ETF.

But tuition has also increased. Students are having to find more ways to afford their degrees.

"Mainly off loans, grants. I got one scholarship coming out of high school that I am about to lose," said Ashley Borden, Jacksonville State University freshman.

Meagan Graessle is waitressing to help afford her degree. That job is reaffirming her commitment to the higher education.

"It's awful. You really have to have good time management," said the UAB freshman.

University of Alabama students are even helping fellow students who can't come by their own financial aid.

"Students can apply if they are having a real tough time and at that time give them one thousand dollars a month," said University of Alabama Student Government Association Vice President Jimmy Taylor. "We know it's getting really tough for students."

The worrying doesn't stop there. Freshman are already thinking about that first job to pay back loans.

"There are a lot of jobs out there. But they are still decreasing, so you always have to look for an opportunity. This [being in Montgomery] is an opportunity that will truly help everybody," said an Auburn freshman.

Some students will stay in Montgomery for the next few days meeting with lawmakers. Ultimately, those lawmakers will decide where education funding goes.

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