A coalition of students and colleges in Wisconsin are calling on the Governor to protect financial aid in his state budget.

The governor has warned that all state programs could face cuts in his upcoming budget. If financial aid takes a hit, Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities President Rolf Wegenke warns that it could force many students to give up on higher education. If that happens, he predicts many will never finish college.

Several groups are asking the governor to protect financial aid, and possibly even expand coverage. Wegenke says thousand already rely on the help and that demand is growing. He says the current level funding already is not enough to meet the demand, and further cuts would result in fewer students getting a degree.

The last state budget dedicated about $90 million towards financial aid. Wegenke would like to see that funding increased by about five-percent, although he admits any funding boost would be welcome.

The coalition, which includes the United Council of UW Students and the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, sent a letter to Governor Doyle this week asking him to maintain financial aid funding.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (MP3 1:00)

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