Pell grantMore than 1 million of America's poorest college students may have to take out bigger loans, find another way to pay tuition, or drop out in 2012, if Republican budget cuts are passed that shrink the government's Pell grant program. The federal program provides low-income students with direct financial aid for higher education.

Supporters of Pell grants are mobilizing in an online rally Monday for "Save Pell Day." More than 1,200 supporters have already signed up on Facebook, sharing support and stories about how the grant program helped them to get their college degrees.

At issue is a GOP budget proposal that slashes funding for the education program, and could cut the maximum amount of aid by as much as 45%. Currently, Pell grants provide a maximum of $5,550 per student. One GOP budget proposal would limit eligibility requirements and cap funding at an average of $3,040 per student for the 2012-2013 academic year.

More than 9.6 million students will receive a Pell grant in the upcoming academic year at a cost of $35 billion to the government. That number has increased since 2008 as the economic downturn has sent many more people back to school. Under the plan proposed by Tea Party favorite Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.), nearly 1.4 million students would lose their access to the funding, according to the Education Trust, an education advocacy group.

"It will be really difficult for some and impossible for others [to pay for college]," Amy Wilkins, vice president of the Education Trust, told DailyFinance.

Pell grants cover only one-third of the cost of tuition at the average four-year public college. For those students who qualify for them, the remainder is typically financed by scholarships, financial aid, loans and students' work incomes. The federal budget compromise passed in April eliminated funding for summer grants starting in 2012.

"Students have given once this year," added Wilkins. "Cutting Pell again is asking a lot of students, especially at a time when costs for education are so high."

A recent article in The Hufffington Post reported that the average college student graduates with more than $27,000 in loan debt. Three million students, or 14% of all undergraduates, take out private loans to pay for tuition.


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jkcow

None in America wants cuts to their entitlements. Unfortunately America has reach a crossing point entittlements are out pacing our abilty to support them. We all must accept cuts in every dept of our government for America to survive. There isn't enough money currently to go around. It's sad that the only way we can pay our debt is to borrow more!

July 28 2011 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Peacem8ker6

They also fail to acknowledge the millions wasted when students enter college intending to earn a degree only to drop out. The rate averages between 50-75%. The ridiculous push to shove all kids into college has lowered the standards of higher education and wasted billions of dollars. If kids are smart enough to go to college, they can work their way through just as we did without handouts from the government.

July 27 2011 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zev57

Billions of dollars are paid for Pell Grants and loans for colleges but the schools never see the money. The students squander the money, never go to school and the taxpayer winds up paying for it. They will never pay back the loans and they know how to play the system. They are takers and not givers. It's like watching Judge Judy and having her being told that the people who take care of their children and receive welfare checks earn that money. You're not working you're just taking money to do what you should be doing normally.

Billions are wasted when we could use it to improve the quality of life for our seniors and our military.



Bill Levy zev57@aol.com

July 27 2011 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mobeck

You're not meeting my needs!

George Carlin; "lose some of your f#$%king needs"....

July 26 2011 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LHABITAT

If a student is is qualified, the money is available. Most colleges have funds for any bright student, rich or poor. Why should a mediocre or less student be funded just because their parents were not with it enough to provide for education,

July 25 2011 at 6:47 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
linmarco

To those for keeping Pell Grants or those for repealing Pell grants there is a remedy at hand. It is the U.S. Congress.
This is an act created in 1965 and passed by the congress. Just as it was passed by congress it can be repealed by it.

July 25 2011 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KKiegiel

Get a job and pay for your own education. Definitely more gratifying than knowing you have mega thousands to pay off and no job. 80 percent of higher management jobs in this country come from State schools. Only 20 percent from Private. Do the math people. It's aptitude.....yes some need to go the political route. Personal satifaction comes being self employed.....

July 25 2011 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
comfy01

Get a job and pay for your college. I did, no gov handouts.

July 25 2011 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jamesw34677

iT IS THE PARANTS OR THE STUDENT RESPONSIBLY TO PAY FOR THEIR OWN COLLEGE. wHY IS IT TODAY ALL THE PEOPLE WANT IS HAND OUTS COLLEGE IS NOT THAT BAD A PRICE YOU CAN GET A GOOD 4 YEARS FOR 200K THAT IS ONLY 50 k PER YEAR AND IF YOU WORK 40 HOURS A WEEK ALONG WITH SCHOOL ITS NOT A BIG DEAL. tHE PARANTS SHOULD HAVE PPUT MONIES AWAY AS SOON AS THE CHILD WAS BORN THEN THEY WOULD HAVE HAD ENOUGH TO PAY THE BILL IF THEY DID NOT LIVE ABOVE THEIR IT IS TIM TO STOP ALL THE HAND OUT WORK OR GO WITHOUT VERY EASY TO DO

July 25 2011 at 1:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rjohn12800

Rather than just ask for money, has anyone asked why the cost of a run college has increased by 40% in the past ten years, while the median income has declined by almost 10%? Professors incomes have risen at, or slightly below, the rate of inflation, so they aren't the one's getting rich. Where is the money going? One talks about return on investment. What is the return on loans and grants for a four year degree, when unemployment rates for recent college graduates are higher than the general population? Why are we spending three times the average health costs of those living in industrial nations in Europe, yet have a lower health rating and higher infant mortality rate? Why are we spending more each year to educate a child K-12, to obtain lower skill and knowledge based scores with a higher dropout rate? Why are we paying more in taxes and see money flowing to building or rebuilding infrastructure in schools, roads, dams, manufacturing and infrastructure around the world while ours crumbles? Why do major CEO's proclaim that they can get a better return on investment by investing in China, a communist country, than they can in the United States? Meanwhile, our government is broke. We have a combined debt that is close to five times our GDP. What family could ever pay off a debt, let alone spend more, on credit card debt that is five times their gross income (not net, gross) each year? The question should be, how do we, as a society, and our leaders in public office and the business sector, do more with less juxtaposed to how do we get more for "me" and continue the downward spiral. It isn't Republican nor Democrat, it's about us as a people and where do we want to go to help our people first without worrying about "I" first and world leadership second. Lee Iaccoca was right when he asked, "Where have our leaders gone?" I think we might have an answer from Pogo. "We have met the enemy and he is us."

July 25 2011 at 1:49 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rjohn12800's comment
anyteampa

Well said, rjohn.

July 25 2011 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply