Recently, President Obama released his fiscal year 2012 budget proposal and the House of Representative's Republican leadership unveiled its Continuing Resolution, which will fund the government through fiscal year 2011. The two spending documents are at odds over higher education funding, and neither address structural problems within federal student aid programs.
President Obama's budget preserves the Pell Grant program's maximum award amount of $5,550 dollars for low-income students. However, it is able to preserve this amount by no longer allowing students to receive multiple grants to be used during summer school to encourage quicker graduation and by ending federal the benefit in which the government pays the interest rate on graduate students' loans while they are still in school.
The House Republican's Continuing Resolution cuts the maximum Pell Grant award by $845, reducing it to $4,705. Additionally, the following proposals have been included in the resolution:
USSA's founding mission is to make education a right for all in the United States. Neither of these proposals even come close to reaching this goal. However, we have to acknowledge the political realities of our time and maintain what we have now so we'll have a base on which to fight tomorrow. This is but a hurdle in our historic march towards making education a right.
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