Saving the Pell Grant from Federal Budget Cuts

November 8, 2011

The Internet has made it easier to petition for public needs, and students are joining a new online petition to save student financial aid from budget cuts. Currently, the online petition has more than 40,000 signatures.

As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction discusses plans for how to cut the trillion dollars in federal debt, the Student Aid Alliance started the petition to save financial aid from being one of those cut programs. Student Aid Alliance represents 62 higher education institutions and started the petition on November 23rd. The petition states "Don't Balance the Budget on the Backs of Students" continues to receive support from not only students, but faculty members and administration across the United States.

One of the key points made by the petition is that student aid is one of the only reasons that some students can receive higher education, and that this directly effects the U.S. economy in a positive way. As quoted, "Our national sorely needs to power up its economic engine. Work force projections show that by 2018, there will be jobs for as many as 22 million new workers with college degrees, but on our current trajectory, we won't make that goal – in fact we'll miss it by 3 million workers."

Financial aid for college is one of the prime issues for the Occupy Wall Street protests and continues to be a well-discussed issue along with the national debt problems. Lawmakers have previously tried to cut federal funding for colleges on several occasions. The petition aims to stop the discussions by showing the need to allow for under-privileged to get an education.

Tuition costs are at an all-time high, which has stopped many from going to college, and the debt from student loans has risen sharply as well. In fact, the total student loan debt rose above credit card in 2010. Students borrowed $10 billion for college. The numbers only increased for 2011, and should reach $1 trillion by the end of the year. Budget cuts in the past have been made to blame for this increase, as $30 billion in funding was cut from federal grants and federal college loans.

The petition by Student Aid Alliance wants to protect the Pell Grant and many other federal student aid programs and benefits. As the petition states, "Together, these programs offer students an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skill our nation demands for a strong recovery."

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