Tiara Floyd Student Senate 9/5

Student Body President Tiara Floyd gives her officer report on Sept. 4. Gov. Laura Kelly has appointed Floyd to the Kansas Complete Count Committee. 

Student Senate formed an ad-hoc committee Wednesday, Sept. 25 to find solutions for the recruitment and retention of more Pell Grant-eligible students.

The ad-hoc committee is aiming to narrow the socioeconomic gap on campus, said Zach Thomason, Senate chief of staff, in a meeting Wednesday night.  A U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Kansas 377 out of 381 schools in social mobility. 

Social mobility refers to a university’s ability to recruit and retain Pell Grant-eligible students, students whose family income is less than $50,000 a year. 

“The bill is not necessarily to say here’s a concrete action plan, it’s going to say here’s our path to writing a concrete action plan,” Thomason said in the meeting Wednesday night. 

Thomason and Max Schieber, chair of the University Affairs Committee, presented an incomplete resolution to the committee and asked the members for ideas of how to improve the University’s ranking.

Schieber and Thomason drafted a resolution with the intent to improve the University’s ranking. They opened it to the committee as a whole to collaborate and share their ideas. 

According to Student Senate Rules and Regulations, a resolution covers a matter in which Senate wishes to make its public opinion or which establishes guidelines, policies or other criteria for the conduct of Senate business in committees.

“Resolutions are just affirming the direction that we’re taking and not actually committing to anything," said Student Body Vice President Seth Wingerter. "So this is definitely more of us just doubling down and showing publicly that we are committed to this and just reaffirming that.” 

After the discussion, the University Affairs Committee decided an ad-hoc committee would be the most effective way for Senate to help improve the retention of Pell Grant students.

“I know everyone in this room has a lot of great ideas, they just don’t know where to start,” said Liza Overton, Senate’s director of communications. “And I think an ad-hoc committee would be helpful in this issue, because so many people want to see this change.”

Senate started discussing how to improve the University’s ranking during a full Senate meeting Sept. 18. The week before, a bill passed through the Student Rights Committee gave the Status of Marginalized Students Subcommittee the task of exploring new ways the University could retain Pell Grant-eligible students.

The chair of the ad-hoc committee will be chosen in the Full Senate meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 2.