Forty Southwestern College students joined college students throughout California to let their state legislatures know that they are not satisfied with the current college system.
The March in March, an annual statewide student protest, drew more than a thousand California college students at Raley Field in Sacramento to march onto the steps of the State Capitol on March 3 in protest of some of the problems that face higher education.
SWC Associated Student Body President Jessica Del Castillo, who also marched last year, said the event lets students voice their concerns to their delegates.
“For me it means hope, it means hope that all of us could one day make a change because education is the future,” she said.
“It gives us a lot of hope to see that we can make a difference and that we can rise together for a common purpose, it’s very inspirational.”
Issues that concern Castillo and other students include a need to reform Cal Grants, tuition hikes at the California State University and University of California systems and the ever increasing cost of college textbooks.
The issues with Cal Grants are a concern for Castillo because if it were not for state funding, the unemployed college student would need to find work to pay for college.
“Having the opportunity to have financial aid gives me the ability to attend college; otherwise I wouldn’t be able to,” she said.
Rick Flores, a third year Southwestern College student and history major, also attended the march, he said the price increase of textbooks has affected him because he has either dropped out of a class he needed or failed a class because he couldn’t afford the textbook.
He also said he is looking to transfer to the University of Oregon, which he said, as an out-of-state student, would be cheaper than attending an in-state school.
“It’s a little depressing because California seems to pride itself on our education, we do have some of the top universities in the country in our state, but access is just so hard for in-state students,” Flores said about the possibility to attend a university.
Like Del Castillo, Flores last year participated in the March in March too. He said some the issues that were expressed from last year’s march carried into this year.
“Many (problems) were similar because unfortunately these things couldn’t be fixed in the span of a year, but we’re hoping they can be fixed soon. In politics it takes a while for change to happen,” he said.
After marching on the steps of the capitol, SWC students met with Senator Ben Hueso, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who is part of the higher education senate committee, to discuss the issues.