NYSFAAA has a message to both our New York State Representatives as well as our Congressional Leaders in Washington. Demographics have changed since 1965 and we must address those changes by financially supporting access to higher education for all students! We are seeing the ramifications of that lack of support through lower retention and higher student loan default rates. As members of the financial aid community, we must make a concerted effort to establish relationships with our local representatives that will open the doors for conversation and promote credibility. By opening those doors, we will be helping NYSFAAA’s leaders to "make them listen"!
We must keep in mind that as individual members, we each have our own, and/or our institution’s worldview. However, the louder message is the same no matter what direction you are traveling from. Remember to embrace the notion of Pre-K through Grade 16 in urging support for higher education.
If you are already a pro at advocacy, go for it! Consider becoming a mentor and invite a NYSFAAA member to join you when you visit your representative. If you are just stepping out, try these suggestions and before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to legislative visits! REMEMBER, the Governmental Relations Committee is here to help – so please call and we’ll give you the gentle nudge you’re looking for…
- Prepare – know your Legislator’s interests, background, etc.
Is he/she an author? Scan the book. NYSFAAA Governmental Relations Committee
Members have a copy of the "Red Book" with biographies of all
NYS Legislative Representatives as well as a wealth of other information.
Call one of us and we’ll help.
- Introduction – YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT. Are you a registered
voter?? Be sure you are!! Know your Senate and Assembly district
number. Briefly, tell something about yourself; offer your business
card and be sure to mention NYSFAAA as well as your institution.
- You are a source and/or connection to financial aid issues, statistics, etc. Offer to provide any information they might need – and follow through!
- Keep your information-sharing simple. Cite a real life
story with "names
and faces". A story about a constituent is powerful!
- Connect the dots. Tie the issue to the big picture – describe
the social/economic impact on ALL New Yorkers.
- Leave a piece of paper – brochure, article, description
of the "real life" story you told...
- Don’t forget the staff! Legislators rely strongly on their guidance.
Confirm their names and titles and remember to say good-bye to the receptionist
(often keeper of the appointment schedule!)
- Follow-up within a week with a note, thank you letter or telephone call. Make a verbal commitment to visit again and mark your calendar.
If you do visit, please send a note to the Governmental Relations Committee and/or the NYSFAAA President. It is important for us to be a team. If we can mention to a legislator that we knows a NYSFAAA member just visited – that is impressive. It means that the Legislator’s name was used in conversation and "name recognition" is important to elected officials! Remember, it is politics...