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Aug-08-2007 17:11TweetFollow @OregonNews
2008 Budget Slashes 300 Million in Student AidSalem-News.com
Pell Grant increase will result in SEOG demise.
(BOCA RATON, Fla.) - Under the smokescreen of increasing the Pell Grant program for low income families, 81 of 96 Senators voted to pass HJ Res 20, a $463.5 billion dollar spending measure to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2007, reports Reecy Aresty, one of the nation's leading experts on college admissions and financial aid. In its present form, Aresty said, the Bush Budget will slash spending for federal student grant and work programs by almost $300 million.
Only 15 of the 96 legislators, whose children and grandchildren have opportunities and privileges their constituent counterparts will never have, voted against the measure - and they were all Republicans, he noted. The No Child Left Behind Administration, Aresty continued, is proposing to increase Pell Grants, but at the same time eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Perkins loan cancellations, and Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships.
Making matters even worse, the legislators failed to increase the Federal Work-Study Program one thin dime. This is a classic example of bait and switch, he said.
The budget calls for a Pell Grant increase from $4,310 to $4600 with annual increases to $5400 by fiscal year 2012. At the same time, the Administration is planning a series of cuts in loan subsidies to the Federal Family Education Loan lenders and guaranty agencies, and a recall of the federal portion of Perkins revolving funds.
If Congress does not enact reductions in mandatory subsidies as suggested in the President's Budget, any increase in the Pell maximums will continue to be subject to the uncertainties of the annual appropriations process, Aresty said.
The Administration is also proposing a $1 billion increase in mandatory funding over the next five years in the Academic Competitive Grant program to increase first and second-year awards by 50 percent - from $1,125 to $1,950.
First and second year Pell recipients are only eligible for these additional awards if they have taken a rigorous high school curriculum.
Second year recipients must have maintained a 3.0 grade point average in their first year of college. Additionally, a Pell Grant recipient must also be a full-time student and U.S. citizen. Sadly, the SMART Grant was not increased.
Eliminating the SEOG program is crucial to this Administration's overall drive to cut federal spending, said Aresty. However, these proposals are not without controversy and will require Congressional action to be implemented.
Every student who would receive a maximum Pell Grant, Aresty pointed out, would surely qualify for an additional $4,000 in SEOG monies.
Consequently, he said, they will be the ones left behind, as there will no longer be an SEOG for the neediest of students. The bulk of the dollars to pay for a Pell Grant increase is found in guaranty agency/lender program cuts. While the savings from program eliminations, such as the SEOG, provide fewer dollars to pay for the Pell increase, such eliminations would affect future Pell Grant recipients.
Over 900,000 students who receive Pell and SEOG funding would receive less federal aid under the new budget proposal than they do now, Aresty concluded.
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