September 21, 2018 | ° F

RUSA votes to support student organizations

At the Rutgers University Student Assembly elections next week, students will have the option of voting to fund two major state and national groups.

RUSA voted last week to include funding for the New Jersey United Students and the United States Student Association as a referendum on the ballot, said Pavel Sokolov, president of RUSA.

“We wanted to give students the chance to voice their opinions,” said Sokolov, a Rutgers Business School senior.

The additional funding for the organizations would translate to $2.50 per student for NJUS and $1 for USSA.

NJUS advocates in Trenton for better higher education appropriation, a higher minimum wage and more student-focused legislation along the lines of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, Sokolov said.

According to the NJUS website, it is working on campaigns for more affordable tuition, improving student loaner Sallie Mae’s policies and raising solidarity for the City University of New York in light of the closure of their student center.

It also hosts training program on campus with politicians, union leaders and other influential figures to encourage student development, he said. The organization is most active on Rutgers campus, but is looking to expand to every state school.

USSA was founded in 1947 to advocate for students on a more national level in Washington, D.C., according to the organization’s website.

Maxwell John Love, its vice president, and John Aspray, the USSA empire garden national field associate, visited RUSA in November 2013, according to an article in The Daily Targum.

The organization votes every summer on what topics to pursue during the year. They chose to work on student loans and the use of student fees.

In the article, Aspray said Stafford loans generate $51 billion in profit for the federal government, so they want to change the program into a nonprofit. They are also looking into increasing Pell Grants and expanding the federal work-study program.

Sokolov said the organization works with students and has them talk with members of Congress on issues such as interest rates on student loans.

Rutgers has four representatives in NJUS, the largest of any school, including RUSA members, he said. Stefany Farino, the current vice president of RUSA, and Sherif Ibrahim, the former vice president of RUSA, are both part of USSA.

Sokolov said he helped found NJUS but renounced his ties to the organization after becoming president of RUSA.

By Erin Petenko

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