Bush increases need base aid for minorities

Governor Jeb Bush held a press conference in the Cabinet room Wednesday to announce that an increase in funding for need base aid would be provided to under privileged students seeking a college education in Florida.

In addition to a new initiative targeted at increasing minority admission numbers, Bush announced that a recommended $52.4 million in 2006-2007 would create funding for need base students and services through the Access and Diversity Initiative.

After state numbers dropped last year in admission among African-American students attending college in Florida, Bush sat down with students from Florida A&M University to discuss the ways to increase enrollment and diversity among students attending college.

Working beside the governor, members of the commission and students at FAMU helped the governor recommend the largest increase in history for need base students.

Governor Bush said he will also recommend an additional $1.1 million in funding for need base financial aid students at all four Florida Historical Black Colleges and Universities.

In making a mark on education, Bush said he will continue to support college board partnerships by increasing funds by a 42-percent increase. Services provided by the College Board Partnership include PSAT and SAT preparation training and tutorial programs that cater to secondary-education students.

Bush also brought up the need for continuous programs like the College Reach-Out program.

Keneshia Grant, former SGA vice president 2003-2004, spoke about her experience as a child growing up in a single parent home and benefiting from the CROP program.

“Programs like CROP help students and I am the living proof,” said Grant, a current graduate student at FAMU.

Grant also stated that prior to meeting the governor and understanding his views on education, her opinions of his work and concern for minorities were skeptical.

“The truth is very simple, when it comes to education, this governor has an unparallel commitment to education,” said Grant.

In regards to mentoring partnerships, the governor will create a mentoring program that will collaborate with the Florida Campus Compact to train volunteers to mentor to middle school students across the state.

Dee Dee Rasmussen, executive director of campus compact met with Alesha Carter, director of community affairs to begin the process in discussing the structure and visionary process of the mentor initiative program.

“A thorough training with college mentors will be provided so that students are well prepared for the experience. We will provide a curriculum that will include weekly sessions and give mentors discussion topics and suggestive activities that will encourage middle school students to turn there dreams into actual goals,” said Rasmussen.

Rasmussen said that the mentoring program looks forward to beginning in February throughout middle schools in Leon County.

Ramon Alexander, SGA president was among the many students at the capital excited about the governor’s initiative.

“This is monumental and I am glad that FAMU is apart of this new mentoring program. I’ve said is before and I’ll say it again, I’m not addicted to drugs, I’m not addicted to alcohol, I’m addicted to mentoring,” said Alexander.