Federal Budget Resolution Cuts Student Aid
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget resolution that contains instructions for the Appropriations Committee that could likely result in significant cuts to federal student aid for college and university students. The Senate is expected to pass this resolution this week. Details about these cuts and their impact were included in a message that National Association of Independent College and University (NAICU) President David Warren sent to all NAICU members last Wednesday. In his message, David summarized the impact of the cuts as follows:
What’s at stake? Congress has proposed cutting $150 billion in student aid over the next 10 years and the threat is very real. Included in these proposals are a cut of nearly $1,000 or more to the Pell Grant maximum award, and the imposition of interest charges on student loans for low-income students while they are in school, adding significantly to their debt burden. If these proposals are passed, the elimination of campus-based aid would likely follow during the Higher Education Act reauthorization.
NAICU has sent an Action Alert to presidents calling on them to encourage their campus communities to participate in an advocacy campaign developed by the Student Aid Alliance, comprised of NAICU, ACE, and some 75 other national higher education organizations. NAICU’s Action Alert also links to the Save Student Aid Partner Packet, a brief handbook that lays out the strategy and how to get involved. The Save Student Aid campaign will leverage social media and public relations strategies and channels to reach and engage students, parents, campus communities, and Members of Congress. The Student Aid Alliance will seek to unleash its collective energy in support of federal student aid.
It is important to note that a budget resolution sets parameters for the budget, but it is not final. The Senate and House Appropriations Committees will have leeway to adjust these budget “instructions.” Therefore, it is not too late for the Save Student Aid Campaign. Congress needs to hear from many constituents that cutting student aid is bad for the future of this country and opposed by many of their voters. In the past, Congress has retreated from proposed cuts to student aid due to the strong opposition they received from students, parents and colleges.
Did You Know? Members of the House Appropriations Committee are: Congressman Charles Dent, Republican from the 15th Congressional district including Lehigh, and parts of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon and Northampton counties; and Congressman Chaka Fattah, Democrat from the 2nd Congressional district including parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties.