Michael A. Kruse
Capital West News
SALT LAKE CITY — Weber State University students filled the Capitol Rotunda to tell stories of success and share their research with lawmakers.
WSU participated in “day at the Capitol” on Tuesday, Feb. 10. Most state university or college leaders invite students to the Capitol to meet legislators. It was the seventh year that WSU has sent students from Ogden for the event.
WSU President Chuck Wight said, “About 50 percent of our operating budget comes from the state, so this an opportunity to show off how great our students are.”
Students displayed their research on panels and showed them off to lawmakers and visitors. The research covered topics as diverse as gender roles in America and Saudi Arabia to whether obese people get hired at a lower rate.
Courtney Keefer, a WSU senior, said she really likes Weber because of the small classes sizes an she touted some of the school’s accomplishments. Keefer told of Weber undergraduates’ high acceptance rate into the University of Utah Medical School. She also touted WSU for having the “public relations student of the year” for four years running.
Keefer also said it concerned her when lawmakers pass laws that require the school to pay more money but don’t fund it. Keefer said it caused the schools to charge more for tuition.
Aaron Newman, the director of student involvement and leadership at WSU, said it was a great opportunity for student leaders to speak with lawmakers.
“I think we have a wonderful Legislature here, especially this year is trying to move forward with several initiatives for higher education,” Newman said.
Utah Student Association, a group of students body presidents form the schools in the state, is pushing a tuition cap initiative. The resolution, backed by Sen. Steven Urquhart, R-St. George, would cap Tier 2 tuition raises at 3 percent.
Tuition is usually done in two parts. Tier 1 is funded at the state level while Tier 2 is determined by higher education institutions. The Utah Student Association is working with current college presidents to cap Tier 2 as well.
The percentage of tuition that is covered by the state has decreased over the years. Newman said the idea is to eventually get the point where the state will never drop below covering 50 percent of the cost of higher education.
“We’re not going to be able to make it happen in one year, it’s a ongoing process,” Newman said. He said the plan is to put the cap in place within five years. Newman said the process becomes complex since some universities get more funding than others. On Friday, Feb. 13, Weber State student executives are scheduled join other school student leaders in the Capitol Rotunda to push for the tuition cap.