This from Campus Progress:
Former Republican vice-presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin unveiled a budget blueprint [yesterday] for fiscal year 2014 titled "The Path to Prosperity."
As the chair of the House Budget Committee, Ryan is best known as the architect of a House budget plan to slash discretionary spending, including federal research funding, student loans and the Pell Grant program, over the next decade.
The Ryan Budget would have a severe impact on students across the country. In his report, he writes that Pell Grants, the federal program for undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need, is "on an unsustainable path" after numerous award increases and easing of eligibility requirements during the recession.
Under the House Republican Budget, Pell Grants would be capped at the current level of $5,645 for 10 years, and eliminate all mandatory funding. In other words, under Ryan’s plan, Pell Grants would not keep up with the pace of inflation and rising tuition costs, and would be worth less each successive year. Ryan's Budget also proposed to fund the minimized Pell Grant program with discretionary funds, which would be impossible given the caps without deep cuts to other programs or eligibility changes. So to meet this, the Ryan Budget proposed just that: to change the method of calculating how much a student's family can pay for higher education, making these loans harder to get and less generous.
As Lauren Asher, the president of TICAS, explained how these changes to pell would make college less accessible for the neediest of students in a recent statement. "The maximum Pell Grant already covers less than one-third of the cost of attending a public four-year college this fall—the lowest share since the start of the program. Freezing it for 10 years would lower its value even further, to 17 percent of college costs by 2023."
In the long run, it's predicted this budget plan will save the federal government $1.1 billion, but in return it will make higher education more unattainable for low-income students. During the 2011-2012 school year, there were 19 million valid applicants for Pell but only less than half were supported by the program, according to the Department of Education. Without access to these federal grants, low-income students that continue to pursue a higher education will likely become even more reliant on student loans, a debt crisis affecting our entire economy. And the House Republican Budget barely mentions the $1 trillion issue, and stays eerily silent on the student loan interest rates that are set to double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8, in the summer...