By Brenda Hicks, Chair Government Relations Committee
<Queue Music> PROSPER Act: I’m just a bill, I am only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill….
One of the things I love about being in financial aid is that I get to use the skills I learned as a child on Saturday morning sitting in my pajamas eating Cheerios and watching School House Rock films during the breaks between episodes of Bugs Bunny and Mighty Isis.
For those of you too young to remember these wonderful little educational videos – allow this link to YouTube to catch you up to speed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyeJ55o3El0 …and once you are done with that you should definitely seek out the updated version sung by Deluxx Folk Implosion along with Blind Melon’s “Three is a Magic Number” and Skee-Lo’s “The Tale of Mr. Morton’” all released on the 1996 tribute album Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks. “Mr. Morton is the subject of a sentence, what the predicate says he does…..”
But I digress.
Bottom line, during periods of Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (which doesn’t happen all that often), things can get a little confusing. You will begin to hear about things that are “in discussion only” either because they are part of a proposal for a bill or because they are things that people are lobbying to get into the final version of the bill. It is important to remember during ALL of these moments that a bill is just that….a bill. It is not considered law (and therefore something you need to implement) until President Trump signs something. Dear friends, we have a long way to go before that happens.
What you can and should do during these moments is stay in the conversation and let your voice be heard. How can our representatives in Washington do their job well if the people they are representing remain silent? Remember that YOU ARE AN EXPERT in the field of financial aid. You are also an advocate for the students you serve. If you can lend your college’s support in your remarks – do it (but get permission first). If you want to just speak as just you, private American citizen, speak without mentioning who you work for. But speak.
This public service announcement has been brought to you by the KASFAA Government Relations Committee.