By Allen Kors
The recent Republican budget proposal to slash student aid by $150 billion represents an egregious elimination of vital support for our higher education system. The United States faces $1.3 trillion in outstanding student debt, a three-fold increase in tuition cost over the past 30 years, and an increasingly competitive labor market for college graduates. These variables have created an environment in which a college education is increasingly necessary in order to achieve the "American Dream," now that a college education is becoming less accessible than ever before.
The higher education system is evolving, yes, but cutting off access to the lifeblood of our economy and workforce at this pivotal inflection point may cause irreparable harm to our rising generation of producers and creators. The recent proposal in Congress includes cutting Pell Grants by $90 billion, slashing in-school interest subsidies by $34 billion, and eliminating benefits and safety net programs for borrowers by $27 billion. To establish the severity of these proposed cuts, the Pell Grant used to cover 80% of college costs in 1975, and is projected to cover only 20% by 2025. It helps put 9 million students through school each year. That means that while the purchasing power of the Pell Grant is already organically deteriorating based on inflation and rising tuition costs, the government is accelerating its extinction by actually reducing the size of the Pell Grant fund itself. That alone is like a double whammy hit to college accessibility.
We cannot sit back and allow this to happen. These programs are integral to the success of our nation. Education is a portal to achievement and fundamental to our people’s evolution. We must put an end to these proposals and unite in support, not abandonment, of our nation’s students. If you agree, please show your support by signing the Student PIRGs petition: bitly.com/helpsavestudentaid[more...]