Our Partners Speak up and Act Against Congress’s Plan to Slash Billions From Higher Ed Spending
Last week, the House Budget Committee released their fiscal year 2016 budget, which cuts billions of dollars to higher education programs like Pell, and guts programs like Pay As You Earn. Our partners have more.
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“The House budget proposal sends a clear signal that college access and affordability for low-income students is not a priority. The proposal freezes the maximum Pell Grant award at its current level for 10 years, regardless of escalating tuition, and proposes limiting eligibility requirements, which means fewer low-income students will have access to this much-needed aid. This is the wrong direction for the Pell Grant program. As is, it barely covers one-third of the cost of attending the average four-year, public college. And, as most recipients come from families earning less than $30,000, limiting the Pell Grant will put college out of reach for many more students. Instead, legislators should focus on expanding the Pell program and increasing its purchasing power by increasing institutional accountability. This is critical to building and maintaining a strong economy and healthy democracy. Raiding the Pell Grant program — like the House has proposed — is poor planning for our nation’s future.”
“While the President’s proposed budget fully funds the scheduled increases in the maximum Pell Grant and continues to tie it to inflation after 2017, the House Budget Committee plan freezes the maximum grant for 10 years. This freeze reduces the share of four-year public college costs covered by the maximum grant from an already record low of 29 percent to 20 percent by 2025. The House plan also proposes unspecified reductions in eligibility for Pell Grants, including entirely eliminating some students’ grants.”
“We wanted to draw attention to the massive, monstrous cuts that the Republicans are proposing to primarily the Pell program, subsidized loans, public service loan forgiveness and income-based repayment,” Maxwell John Love, the president of USSA, told ThinkProgress.
“Congress must not balance the federal budget by saddling students and their families with more debt, but the House FY16 Budget does just that. The House plan proposes roadblocks to eligibility for Pell Grants, including some that would bar students entirely from receiving this important aid for college. It also slashes all mandatory funding for Pell Grants, which would leave Pell Grants even more vulnerable to future cuts during the appropriations process. The budget also recommends the use of so-called “fair-value accounting” on student loans to disincentivise the government from strengthening education funding. Students and families deserve real investments, not huge cuts to grants for college and accounting tricks.”
“By consolidating job training programs, this budget also threatens workforce programs that target young adults trying to get back on their feet after the Great Recession. And, this budget also dismantles the Affordable Care Act, which has already resulted in health care coverage for millions of young people. It also attacks Medicaid expansion, which helps low-income families receive critical health services. Now is not the time to roll back job and healthcare policies that have been working for young people.”