Summer Pell Grants cut this year

As we discussed in class, one of the ways that the budget was cut by $40 billion in the first years of the Reagan administration was through cutting Pell Grants. These are GRANTS of money to needy students for college tuition, which means they do not have to be paid back as a loan would be. This morning the news was that this program will be cut for the upcoming summer semester as part of the budget deal that was signed a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the story:

Figuring out how to pay for college is the bane of most college students’ existence. Many rely on loans, grants and scholarships to pay for their schooling. One financial aid option that a large number of students rely upon may not be an option in 2012. In President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal, summer Pell Grants are on the chopping block.

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income students seeking higher education. As in many other need-based government programs, like Welfare, family income is examined, and the amount of funding given to the student is accordingly divvied out.

The Pell Grant Program expanded just last year to allow students to use two Pell Grants per year – one for summer and one for the regular academic year – in an effort to lift graduation rates. Since there is no proof of any increase, and since the nation is in a deficit, the administration decided the addition was superfluous.

The proposal was made in response to the House Republicans’ legislation to cut the maximum allowable award from $5500 to $4500 for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which ends in September. The Obama budget for 2012 would keep the maximum award at $5500 but cut summer funding instead.

Students would still have the option of using their Pell Grants for summer classes, but they would then not be able to use Pell Grant funds to pay for tuition during the regular school year…..

For more information on Pell Grants, To find out if you are eligible for a Pell Grant or other federal assistance, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov.

Here is the link to the article from the Post-Dispatch today: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/article_48b13288-a86d-5a23-a281-1acbd326c461.html

And here is analysis from the NYT on why the President would agree to this: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/why-obama-would-cut-summer-aid/

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