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Local 212 raises $17,000 for MATC students


AFT Local 212, the union representing faculty, counselors and professional staff at Milwaukee Area Technical College, has raised almost $17,000 for its MATC student emergency fund for the 2017-18 academic year.

Last year, Local 212 was given a grant by Believe in Students, a nonprofit organization created by Temple University Professor Dr. Sara Goldrick Rab. The grant was part of the FAST (Faculty and Students Together) Fund, an emergency financial aid program that supports students at three colleges around the country each year.

Local 212 has now raised additional dollars to continue the fund for the coming year (2017-2018), leveraging the nonprofit’s initial investment.

Dr. Goldrick-Rab is a former UW-Madison professor and author of Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid and the Betrayal of the American Dream. She explained, “Today the promise of a college degree in exchange for hard work and dedication is no longer accurate. Most students from economically disadvantaged families like those who attend MATC face a huge gap between their financial aid and the cost of attendance. The purpose of the FAST Fund is to provide students with additional financial support so they can stay in college and complete their degrees.”

Last year the Local 212 FAST Fund contributed $7,500 to students facing sudden financial crises. It helped three students avoid eviction, assisted three homeless students secure housing, paid for tools, books, testing for healthcare students and tuition assistance for students who no longer qualified for financial aid.

“MATC’s faculty is committed to our students and their academic success,” said Dr. Lisa Conley, President of AFT Local 212. “We’re acutely aware of the extraordinary financial challenges many of our students face,” she explained. “Our students come from one of the nation’s poorest cities. Fully 72% of them use Pell Grants to help pay for college. But it’s not enough. When the Pell program began, it paid the entire cost of attending a two-year college. Now it pays only 60%. This is one reason student debt has become the second largest form of debt in the United States.”

All donations to the FAST Fund are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to “Believe in Students Inc.” and sent to the Local 212 office, 739 West Juneau Avenue, Milwaukee 53233.

Dr. Michael Rosen, a retired Economics Instructor and former Local 212 President, has agreed to continue administering the FAST Fund for Local 212.