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U of M President Kaler and coordinate campus chancellors sign national Student Aid Alliance's petition

Morris, Minn., -- University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and the statewide campus chancellors, Charles Casey, Crookston, Lendley Black, Duluth, Jacqueline Johnson, Morris, and Stephen Lehmkuhle, Rochester, signed the national Student Aid Alliance's online petition to highlight the importance of preserving student aid.

The national campaign coincides with the activities of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and those surrounding the remainder of the federal fiscal year 2012 appropriations process. Recent budget deals have already cut $30 billion from the student aid programs.

"As a first-generation college student, I know the benefit higher education brings to people's lives and their communities," Kaler said. "I have made access to higher education one of my priorities as president of the University of Minnesota. That's why it's more important than ever to preserve, protect and provide adequate funding for the core federal student aid programs--such as Pell grants and student loan benefits. Together, these programs offer students an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills our nation demands to compete in the 21st century."

Morris's Chancellor Johnson adds, "The only public liberal arts college in the state of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota, Morris is nationally ranked and recognized. Our history is grounded in access, and we continue to serve talented students, of whom many represent the first generation in their families to attend college or university. We are working hard to ensure that this tradition of access continues."

In the 2009-10 academic year, more than 10,000 students across the University of Minnesota's five campuses--20 percent of all undergraduates--benefited from roughly $25 million in Pell grants. About eight million U.S. students rely on Pell grants each year to help pay for college.

As of today, more than 120,000 individuals have signed the petition. For more information, visit the Student Aid Alliance website,