WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Financial aid for the 21st century will be one of the topics when student government representatives from private and public colleges and universities throughout the state of Washington gather at Whitman College on Monday, Oct. 9, for a Student Leaders Conference.

Sponsored by the Washington Independent Schools Association (WISA), the day-long event is open to the public and will include participation by Washington state elected officials and political candidates.

Following introductions at 9 a.m., a keynote address will be given at 9:30 a.m.

If Washington Gov. Gary Locke is unable to give the address, Whitman President Tom Cronin will speak instead.

A townhall forum divided into two sessions is scheduled for 10:35 a.m. The topic of the first session is "Balancing Legislative and Educational Priorities in Washington State." The second session will focus on "Financial Aid for the 21st Century."

The morning activities will take place in Kimball Theatre in Hunter Conservatory.

A luncheon is planned for 12:35 p.m. in Baker Faculty Center. There will be time for informal discussions between conference participants as well as for closing statements by student government presidents and elected officials. The luncheon cost is $5.

Elected officials expected to attend include state Sen. Valoria Loveland, chair of the state Ways & Means Committee, and state Representatives Dave Mastin and Bill Grant. Loveland, Mastin and Grant all represent Washington's 16th District, which encompasses Walla Walla, Franklin, Columbia and Garfield counties, and most of Asotin County.

U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and his challenger, Maria Cantwell, have also been invited. Cantwell has tentatively accepted.

The Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) and its Executive Council are hosting the conference.

According to ASWC vice president David Brown, a sophomore from Port Orchard, Wash., one goal of WISA is to make higher education accessible to all of Washington's students by fostering cooperation among legislators, policy-makers and students.

Brown said WISA supports funding increases, as proposed by the state Higher Education Coordinating (HEC) Board, for State Need Grants, State Work Study, and Washington Promise Scholarships, three of the four major student aid programs administered by the state. WISA also advocates a funding increase for Equal Opportunity grants.

For more information about the conference, contact Brown at (509) 527-5115, or (509) 526-5606. His email address is browndb@whitman.edu.

CONTACT:

Dave Holden, Whitman News Service, (509) 527-5902
Email: holden@whitman.edu