On Friday, April 15, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal, which seeks to shred the Pell Grant program. These grants have enabled millions of economically disadvantaged Americans to realize their dreams of a college education and brighten their prospects for the future.
Rep. Ryan’s proposal wouldn’t just skim a little off the top. Experts anticipate that it would reduce the maximum Pell Grant award by up to 60 percent – from $5,500 per year to as low as $2,100. And since colleges across the country are raising tuitions, such cuts would be catastrophic for many students. Consider this: In 1980, the maximum Pell grant covered most of the cost to attend a four-year public college. By 2007, it covered less than one third – an historic low.
Tell your congressional representative that these are cuts America can’t afford. Don’t delay!
In a global economy, the nations that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. At this critical juncture, when we should be doubling down on education, Rep. Ryan's proposal to slash Pell funding by more than half just doesn't add up. As we work to regain our international edge, we can't bulldoze the pathway that makes attending college possible for scores of low-income Americans.
This funding proves all the more critical when you consider that, in 1980, the Pell Grant covered most of the cost of attending a four-year public college. Now, it covers less than one-third.
This isn't just a bad idea economically – it's also plain wrong. When it comes time to make budget cuts, it's easy to target the individuals who have the least political clout. And if you agree that America is a place where anyone can succeed, based on hard work and perseverance, then Pell Grant cuts must be removed from the budget chopping block immediately.
I urge you to vote against any budget proposal that would cut the Pell Grant program.