TAMPA - "To whom it may concern, as you begin to map out budget plans for our state, I hope you will invest in public education," read USF Student Government President Brian Goff.
"To our legislation, please fund higher education. Do not cut budgets," read Janine Kiray, USF Senior.
"Dear legislators, I can barely afford my undergrad degree. Please don't keep me from going to grad school," read Lindsay Lewis, USF Senior.
"I am already $10,000 in debt. Please don't raise tuition. It's in your best interest," USF Senior Nathan Fox read.
These postcards are on the way to state lawmakers. They're written by hundreds of USF students and read by Student Government leaders who plan on delivering them to Tallahassee in person.
"I need this funding to follow my dreams," read Lewis.
"Please help fund higher education because it is important to our country," read Kiray.
"I'm concerned that tuition could just become too expensive and not be feasible for many future students at the undergraduate level," said Fox who plans on going to graduate school next year.
The statewide Aim Higher Campaign started with a pledge from all University Presidents including Dr. Judy Genshaft not to raise tuition. They've asked lawmakers to add $118-million to the state budget, increased funding equal to a 15 percent tuition hike.
"Every year it's just gone up -- 10-percent here, 14-percent there, and they don't realize, it really adds up," explained Lewis.
"Bright futures really honestly has been the most important part of the funding of my education because it does give a significant amount per credit-hour and seeing the amount of it decrease has affected my family, where we had to take out more loans," said Kiray.
"The University is creating a bigger push to graduate in four years that the students are questioning and wondering if they legislators aren't going to invest in us how are we going to, supposed to do that as we have to take on part time jobs, full time jobs," said Goff.
Last year lawmakers removed $37-million in non-recurring revenue from USF's Tampa campus budget. The state vowed to restore the money this fiscal year but there are no guarantees for this or for new funding.
So students are hoping lawmakers are listening.
"Please consider this. Thank you," read Fox.
"We are the future of America. Sincerely, USF student," read Lewis.
"Sincerely, a USF student," read Kiray.
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