Republicans propose cuts to Pell Grants
Posted February 27, 2011 at 6:14 pm in News
Republican lawmakers have proposed a series of budget cuts that would slash financial aid for college students.
One of the major proposed budget cuts involves a reduction in funding for the Federal Pell Grant Program. The program supplies need-based grants to undergraduates and some postbaccalaureate students with low-income to encourage access to postsecondary education.
Nearly eight million Pell Grant recipients would notice a 15 percent reduction in scholarship funds. The maximum Pell Grant would also be reduced by $845 from $5,550 to $4,705.
In a recent news statement, Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, declared such cuts necessary and a reflection of the demand of the voters in the 2010 midterm election.
The proposed Republican budget-cuts are estimated at $61 billion.
‚ÄúThis year, our nation is spending 1.5 trillion dollars more than we have, running our debt to $14 trillion,‚ÄĚ Rogers said. ‚ÄúThe taxpayers have told us loud and clear that this is simply unacceptable, and have demanded that we get our nation‚Äôs fiscal house in order.‚ÄĚ
According to Thomas McWhorter, executive director of Financial Aid at USC, approximately 3,700 undergraduate students at USC currently receive Pell Grants.
Although the Office of Financial Aid believes cuts in Pell Grant funding are unlikely given the current political situation, it is still closely watching the unfolding political events.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre monitoring the situation closely, but it seems unlikely that the President and senate will pass [cuts in Pell Grant funding],‚ÄĚ McWhorter said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a difficult budget situation regardless.‚ÄĚ
According to McWhorter, an increase in federal funding through the Pell Grant program, allows the university to expand its financial aid resources.
‚ÄúWe can give more money to more people when we have more federal funds,‚ÄĚ McWhorter said. ‚Äú[Federal funds] help stretch what we have further.‚ÄĚ
McWhorter explained that the proposed cuts in Pell Grant funding would not fundamentally change the school‚Äôs financial aid policy.
‚ÄúA small decrease of $3 or $4 million in financial aid, when we‚Äôre paying $120 million in need-based grants each year, is a significant cut, but it won‚Äôt drastically alter our policy,‚ÄĚ McWhorter said.
The university maintains it will continue to meet the financial needs of students through grants, work-study programs and loans.