CART plans for students outside U. to get involved

Laren Weber and Laren Weber

The Coalition Against Rising Tuition– led by Undergraduate Student Government Senator Nathan Wiedenhoft– is planning to increase involvement and expand efforts beyond the University this year.

Working through USG President Alex Wright, the group hopes to contact all student government groups at Ohio universities to make CART a statewide effort.

“I want to get more organizations involved, get other public universities involved (and) faculty involved,” Wiedenhoft said.

CART was formed last January with efforts from several USG members. The initial focus of the committee was to fight the potential repeal of a one-cent sales tax increase in Ohio.

Through the organization last year, USG members decided to take action to help higher education in Ohio by organizing a letter-writing campaign.

Students wrote letters to state legislators and urged them to vote against the tax repeal. Many students received responses to their letters letting them know their voices had been heard

This year Wiedenhoft will be leading two letter-writing campaigns.

One letter will be a general letter stating the benefits of higher education in Ohio and asking for funding. The second will be similar, but it will state a day and time in which the students can go to Columbus to meet with senators and representatives to talk about funding for higher education, Wiedenhoft said.

CART will also work to keep state funding the same as it was in the previous budget, Wiedenhoft said.

The Senate and House of Representatives approve the next biannual budget in June 2005, and if state funding is decreased, students at public universities ultimately suffer as a result of an increase in tuition costs, Wiedenhoft said.

Currently at the University, state funds account for about 30 percent while students pay about 70 percent. These figures represent a drop in funding over the past 10 years, Wright said.

Wright stresses that the University is not to blame for tuition increases.

“Higher tuition isn’t a result of the University out to get your dollar, it’s decreased funding from the state,” he said.