AFT Vermont issues platform to Reclaim the Promise for public higher education

A big shout-out to our state affiliate in Vermont, AFT-VT, in pushing an agenda that can make college more affordable and less of a debt burden for students in that state. Stay tuned, as this is just a sign of things to come as our affiliates fight to Reclaim the Promise of an affordable, high quality public education in every state!

[Chris Goff]
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For Immediate Release:
November 11, 2013

Contact Person:
Ben Johnson, President AFT VT: 802-825-5864 / uppresident@upvaft.org
Dr. Linda Olson, President VSC Faculty Federation: 802-468-1473 / linda.olson@castleton.edu

AFT Vermont Releases 2014 “Reclaiming the Promise of Public Higher Education” Platform

MONTPELIER, VT – AFT Vermont released its 2014 “Reclaiming the Promise of Public Higher Education” Platformon Saturday at the 40th Anniversary celebration for the Vermont State Colleges Faculty Federation. The platform was released during a panel presentation in the afternoon at the membership gathering.

The Platform contains three major planks:

1.     Increase Vermont’s investment in our state colleges and university.

2.     Offer Vermont students options that do not depend on the student loan industry.

3.     Spend more of our higher education dollars on students.

The Platform notes that the state of Vermont commits to funding the Vermont State Colleges “in whole or in substantial part with state funds” in Vermont statute (16 V.S.A §2171(a)). AFT Vermont supports moving over the next 10 years toward our 1980 funding levels of 51%. In addition, the union supports policies that will reduce the overall amount of student debt in Vermont. Finally, AFT Vermont supports policies and procedures that ensure that more of Vermont’s investment in our state colleges and university is spent directly on students.

Linda Olson, President of the Vermont State Colleges Faculty Federation emphasized the importance of the Platform, stating, “We as faculty want what is best for students, and want to support policies that lead to lower tuition costs and high quality learning experiences. We see the effects of student debt loads every day when we talk with students and hear their stories. We also know firsthand that the gap is widening between funds spent directly on students and funds spent on administrative excesses.”

Ben Johnson, President of AFT Vermont, added, “We look forward to working with our legislative allies to move Vermont back to where we were in the 1980s with regard to investment in our state colleges and university, so we can reclaim the promise of public higher education for working families in Vermont.”

Denise Youngblood, President of United Academics, UVM, agreed,  ”Vermont is currently ranked 49th in the nation in state support for higher education. Given this statistic, it is not surprising that the cost of public higher education (which is every Vermonter’s right) has increased dramatically over the past decade. Additional state contributions earmarked for financial aid at the state colleges and UVM are essential to help reduce the educational debt for Vermont’s students. We are committed to providing a first class education for our students–at a fair price.”

The Platform can be found here: http://vt.aft.org/news/aft-vermont-legislative-platform-2014-reclaiming-promise-public-higher-education

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