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College aid cut in new spending bill

Education College aid Spending cuts

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#1 Spectacles

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 06:45 AM

And possibly a million more will see their college aid reduced--as tuition continues to climb. This is what happens when you're broke, fighting a multibillion-dollar-a-month war, and footing the bill for reconstruction of two countries:

http://www.nytimes.c...html?oref=login

Excerpts:

Quote

The federal government will be able to require millions of college students to shoulder more of the cost of their education under the new spending bill approved yesterday by the House and Senate.

The government moved to change its formula for college aid last year, but was blocked by Congress. Now, however, no such language appears in the appropriations bill lawmakers are considering, clearing the way for the government to scale back college grants for hundreds of thousands of low-income students.


Nearly 100,000 more students may lose their federal grants entirely, as Congress considers legislation that could place more of the financial burden for college on students and their families.

Quote

But keeping the old formula in place for another year would add an extra $300 million in grants for college students to a program that is already running at a shortfall, the Office of Management and Budget said. So, the bill approved yesterday, brokered by Congressional leaders in a conference committee, eliminates a provision that would have barred the Education Department from changing the eligibility formula. A Senate staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the White House insisted the provision be dropped, citing the shortfall, and House Republicans were adamant in their agreement to do so.


Quote

Brian K. Fitzgerald, director of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which Congress created to advise it on student aid, estimated that the $300 million the administration hopes to save in the coming year will very likely mean that more than 90,000 students, largely among those whose parents earn $35,000 to $40,000 a year, would lose their Pell grants


Quote

The problem, many members of Congress contend, is that state taxes have gone up for the last three years, not down, making the new formula out of step with the economic environment families currently face. With the issue seemingly on hold, the Department of Education said in June that it would review the formula and seek guidance on its fairness.

Without instructions from Congress to the contrary, however, department officials said that they would most likely start using a new formula, as required by law. Its effect on students could vary greatly from family to family, depending on their economic circumstances. But assuming that the department uses figures that are similar to the ones it proposed last year, as many as 1.2 million low-income students could have their grants cut, according to the American Council on Education, which represents colleges.

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#2 Cardie

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 09:46 AM

Now more of these young people will think about joining the military in order to earn money for college.  Saving money to divert to the war and finding additional troops to fight it.  What an elegant solution.  :devil:

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#3 GoldenCoal

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 10:40 AM

^^
Normally, I'd be more reserved in my comments, but having seen my share of friends in low-income families join the military because they thought there was no way they could pay for college, I will have to agree whole-heartedly with Cardie said.
I just hate how whenever there's a budget crunch, everyone seems so willing to take it out on education.

#4 WildChildCait

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 05:40 PM

Education is the future of a country..this scares me.
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#5 Caretaker

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:24 AM

Well, not a lot we can do, I'm afraid.

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#6 Mystery

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:32 AM

What is that saying? "Freedom ain't free?"  :D

What would be the opposite situation?  The Republicans add more funds to higher education with the caveat that certain ideas and concepts must be taught?

Actually, from what I have seen of American institutions of higher learning, I am amazed the United States is still standing.
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#7 FnlPrblm

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 02:14 AM

Without a doubt.

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#8 Kevin Street

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 02:19 AM

So much for Compassionate Conservatism. :( Is there anything that can be done to fight this?
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#9 Chipper

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 11:23 AM

<sarcasm>  WONDERFUL!  Now everyone can have a quality education! </sarcasm>

THIS is the government we voted for?  One that puts war over education?  One that can't pass an intelligence bill?  

I swear to God.  I can't afford college.  I don't know how I will be able to go to any of the schools I am applying to if they take away federal aid.

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#10 Nonny

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 11:35 AM

{{{{{{{Chipper}}}}}}}

Sad hug.   :(

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#11 JchaosRS

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:20 PM

I dont believe this crap! Actually, what worries me more is that I do believe it. and I am not suprised either. Most of us over where I live depend on government grants to help pay for college. I really dont see how they expect you to get an education whith college costing 30 thousand dollars a year (well thats just where I am going to go. Alot of other schools are so much more).

This is absolute bulls**t! I know alot of people who joind the armed forces simply because there was no other way to afford the outragous cost of tuition. Im afraid Cardie is absolutely correct.

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#12 Nonny

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:30 PM

Rommies Slave, on Nov 23 2004, 09:20 AM, said:

I really dont see how they expect you to get an education whith college costing 30 thousand dollars a year (well thats just where I am going to go. Alot of other schools are so much more).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

They don't.   :(  :(  :(  The implications are frightening.  

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#13 Spectacles

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:49 PM

This is bound to be disastrous for a lot of lower-middle-income college students.  The only hope is that this will be so politically disastrous that Congress may find a way around it. I hope so. But the essential reality is this: we are deep in debt. Financial aid for college students is most likely only one social program that will be cut.

The $388 billion spending bill was 3000 pages long. Lord knows what else has been cut. Surely the Senate doesn't. It took a few eagle eyes to spot two controversial addititions to the bill: (1) a provision giving a certain committee authority to look at any American's tax returns and (2) a provision barring any federal agency from refusing funds to health care providers, hospitals, etc, who refuse not only to provide abortions but even abortion counseling.  Both of those provisions will be appealed in specific votes when Congress convenes in January. So perhaps someone will put the financial aid issue to a vote as well. Write your representatives.
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#14 Delvo

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 01:18 PM

The real problem is that since government got into the business of paying college bills, colleges started figuring out they could charge anything they want and still get paid, so the prices have consistently gone up at a rate nobody can even slightly justify a fraction of. But the solution has been for government to just keep spending more and more to keep up with it. That's crazy. What needs to be done is for the prices to come under control, and as long as government keeps paying them, that won't happen. Education has been just as much of a pyramid scheme as Social Security, and, just like with SS, there's no way out of the cycle that won't cause suffering. But the longer we wait to break the feedback loop, the worse it will be, so the sooner it's done, the better. For lots of people, this is a disaster right now, but in the long run, it's good, because otherwise we're just setting ourselves up for an even more grievous disaster for even more people sometime later.

#15 Spectacles

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 01:33 PM

Actually, the tuition hikes in recent years at state universities have been a result of cuts in state funding. This reduction in government support hasn't led to a reduction in tuition--just the opposite.

Based on this pattern, if the coming cuts in grants affect enrollment, it's likely that tuition will increase even more, not less.


http://www.cnn.com/2....tuition.hikes/
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#16 Cardie

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 01:41 PM

It's not just programs supported by government and tax dollars.  Any business that deals in goods and services routinely covered by insurance does the same thing: look at roofing or auto body repair or medical equipment like wheelchairs or hospital beds for the home.  

The problem is that once an industry has been heavily subsidized, it's very hard for it to cut costs to what the free market would bear, so used is it to budgeting with an inflated bottom line.

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#17 Kevin Street

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 03:16 PM

Universities and colleges probably have a lot of fixed costs too, that may have been set before any reduction in government funding took effect. Things like staff salaries, contracts for goods and services, taxes, mortgages, and so on. Costs that can't be reduced, no matter how much money is coming in. So a reduction in state or federal funding just transfers a greater share of these fixed costs onto the students through increased tuition.

#18 Anakam

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 03:41 PM

I'm confused.  Pell grants are getting cut before the grants for somewhat higher-income families?

*boggle*

What Cardie said.  :wacko:
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#19 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 04:32 PM

Anakam, on Nov 23 2004, 03:41 PM, said:

I'm confused.  Pell grants are getting cut before the grants for somewhat higher-income families?

*boggle*

What Cardie said.  :wacko:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That is because the money for a Pell Grant comes right out of the pocket of the government.  A Stafford loan, that goes to most higher income students, are merely a government subsidized loan or even unsubsidized.  Hopefully the government will make more Stafford loans to those who are losing their Pell grants.
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#20 Spectacles

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 06:33 PM

Quote

Universities and colleges probably have a lot of fixed costs too, that may have been set before any reduction in government funding took effect. Things like staff salaries, contracts for goods and services, taxes, mortgages, and so on. Costs that can't be reduced, no matter how much money is coming in. So a reduction in state or federal funding just transfers a greater share of these fixed costs onto the students through increased tuition.

This is true. This past year our college has operated under a one million-dollar shortfall thanks to state budget cuts. We cut the very few low-enrolled programs we had, offered early retirement packages, laid off support staff, and increased class size across the board--and we still had to raise tuition. Even then, we're struggling to balance the budget. There really isn't a lot of fat to cut, not without adversely affecting the learning environment (though I always argue for decreasing administration). Technology costs alone are daunting. And this is just a community college.

Of course, if Bush follows through on his promise, community colleges are going to get more federal funds. I guess the push may be to get more students to complete their first two years in a less expensive community college before transferring to a state university. That will certainly be appealing if students have to pay most if not all of their tuition costs via loans instead of grants.

A move also may be underfoot to entice people to pursue two-year technical degrees rather than four-year college degrees. We are, in many ways, returning to the pre-New Deal ideal in which only the privileged attended college--unless they went via the GI Bill. Frankly, I have mixed feelings about that. Having taught for twenty-five years, I can tell you that college isn't for everyone. Not everyone is academically inclined. We have long needed a good apprenticeship system to meet the needs of those who are smart, capable people not suited to academia.

It bothers me that this should be determined by family income, however. I've seen some awfully bright kids come from some awfully poor neighborhoods, and I've seen some mighty dull rich kids. I was very lucky in that when I attended college, it was affordable enough for me to live at home, work, and put myself through. My parents had invested all they could for my older brother's university education, and when my time came, they simply didn't have the money to provide tuition and books, much less dorm fees, etc. So I attended a commuter campus.  I worked my tail off, loved it, and was fortunate enough to get an assistantship to enable me to go to grad school. It's difficult to imagine the same kind of scenario for working class kids today because tuition costs are enormous in comparison to what I paid.

So, if college costs are prohibitive for most working-class people, and if most working-class kids go to inferior K-12 schools to begin with thanks to the way we fund education based on local property taxes, then it seems to me that this would blow a real hole in the American Dream. Education, after all, is the key to upward mobility. If quality education is available only to those who can afford it (or who aren't afraid to take out enormous loans) then we'll have a real caste system in our society.
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