Thousands rally at State House to demand more funding for higher education

As it now stands, a little more than one-fourth of the education budget goes to higher education. Students stood at the steps of the State House to demand that lawmakers increase higher education's portion to one-third.

It's not the first time the state's college students have asked for more. The question is whether lawmakers are willing to break{} from a formula that has been used for years.

Right now, higher education's portion stands at 26 percent. What the students want is 30 percent.{} Cody Farrill is student government president at Troy University. He challenged his fellow students to contact their state legislators directly. {}"With continued loss of revenue, how are universities supposed to educate the future employees of this state, the future lawmakers? how are they supposed to be effective without funding?," said Farrill.

The Senate Committee's version of the 2015 Education Trust Fund budget actually would cut some $11 million dollars from higher education. Gordon Stone is executive director of the Higher Education Partnership. He made it clear how he feels about the proposal. "The budget that came through the senate committee yesterday is not what we want," said Stone.

Sharrod Campbell is president of the student government association at Alabama State University. He says he's concerned for the future of his university. "Let's start writing letters, let's get our voice hear that we can't sustain a university losing 10.8 million dollars,"said Campbell.

Governor Robert Bentley and several senators addressed the crowd.{} Bentley assured the students{} he is on their side. "It's important to our state. And it's important that we have people in Alabama who have higher education training," said Bentley.