pell grants

pell grants

Touchdown Shutdown: Federal Furlough Threatens College Football, Financial Aid

Day two of the shutdown, haven’t slept in weeks…

Nah, just kidding. Unless you work a government job or have a loved one that does, you’re probably not feeling the pain of the furlough just yet. But come Saturday, the shutdown will rear its ugly head in the most holiest of holies: the college football field. Saturdays in the fall are a magical time; early morning purging and energy drink chugging, mid-afternoon grilling and queasiness, and late night strolls back to what you think is your dorm. Unfortunately, the white wigs want to take that majestic ritual away from certain young scholars.

Due to the budget impasse in Congress, this Saturday’s Air Force at Navy and Army at Boston College football games are being cancelled.

Empty Stadium

The reason behind the decision is fairly simple. The Air Force and Military Academies are branches of the government and use government appropriated monies to fund their athletic departments. The Naval Academy’s football games are not in jeopardy because the team is funded by non-appropriated funds, i.e. ticket sales and merchandise.

So a couple of unranked and unheralded college teams aren’t gonna take to the gridiron for the foreseeable future, big whoop, right? The government shutdown “can’t hold you,” and “we can’t stop,” or whatever you kids say. Well, until Macklemore and Miley Cyrus volunteer to help the Department of Education field calls regarding your student-loan questions, you’re gonna have a hard time dealing with next semester’s tuition. Read the rest of this entry »



What President Obama’s Re-Election Means for Education

The race to the White House came to an end Tuesday night. President Barack Obama will be serving a second term as the President of the United States. During his 2012 election campaign, he promised to help America build a better education system and wanted America to have the highest promotion of university graduates in the world by 2020.

A few months ago, President Obama proposed a one billion dollar effort to help students excel in math and science, known as the Master Teachers Program. A group of elite teachers will be a part of the program and their salaries will increase by $20,000 in an effort to put the best math and science educators in front of our students. “I’m running to make sure that America has the best education system on earth, from pre-K all the way to post-graduate,” said President Obama during a rally in July. Only time will tell if the program will be implemented in schools across the country or not.

As reported by the HuffingtonPost, Jeffrey Henig, a political scientist at Teachers College, Columbia University, said, “It’s clear the Obama administration will continue to make education a priority.” Henig predicts President Obama will look to improve how academic performance is measured, like designing new assessments students take.

Since being elected in 2008, President Obama has stopped student federal loan rates from doubling and increased funding for Pell grants for students that need financial aid. Additionally, he has adjusted the federal student loan system so that repayments are based on income rather the amount a student has borrowed.

Karen White, political director at the National Education Association (NEA), said during President Obama’s second term she will expect him to focus on early education and college affordability.

Imran Apollo, a student at Wichita State University, comments on why he supported President Obama’s education views, telling us, “Obama wanted to increase the budget for Pell grants, which would increase taxes. Romney wanted to decrease taxes by increasing the requirements to qualify for Pell grants, thereby reducing the overall amount of aid. Romney also stated that increasing aid only encourages colleges to increase tuition costs. While this may be true, I still felt that many families, middle class in particular, would have had significant trouble paying for tuition were they denied Pell aid, or if they received reduced aid.”

Another Wichita State University student, Courtney Seddon, weighed in on the re-election and how it will affect education, telling us, “I think Obama’s re-election will give a lot of educational opportunities to the younger generation; programs like “Pay as You Earn” and debt forgiveness make the financial burden of higher education so much easier.”

The Obama administration’s new program, “Pay as You Earn,” will reduce the payment cap on loan payments from 15% of the borrower’s income to 10%, which will accelerate loan forgiveness from 25 years to 20 years.

Education is a big issue for the country. Americans have high hopes for our education system. During the president’s first term in office he had created new policies and programs to better America’s education system. He has made college more affordable for individuals and eased the financial burden for graduated students.

Also Read:

How Your Grad School Selection Impacts Your Future

Obama Highlights Education in Nomination Acceptance Speech

Lack of Education Apparent in Unemployment Rates



Pell Grants May Receive Less Funding

There have been some budget cuts proposed for the 2012 Department of Education by President Obama. Under these budget cuts, $100 billion would be taken from the Federal Pell Grant program along with other programs for higher education.

Currently, over nine million students classified as low income receive grant benefits from the Pell Grant Program. With the budget cuts, students will still be able to receive the current maximum of $5,550 per academic year. All students that qualify for Federal Pell Grants do so through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the FAFSA. If a student’s family income information indicates, they may qualify for a Federal Pell Grant. With the new budget there is a possibility of the criteria being changed to be more stringent. This would mean that some students who previously received grants may no longer be eligible.

Read the rest of this entry »



Stimulus Passes with Billions for Education

The economic stimulus package that President Obama fought so hard to sell last night in his first public address passed the Senate today. They approved $838 billion, the largest government stimulus since World War II.money

From that package, $83 billion is being earmarked for education, significantly less than the $150 billion approved by the House last week. Newly seated Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says it is “not nearly as much as we need,” and without funding, more than 600,000 education positions stand to be cut due to continuing strain on state budgets.

Under this stimulus spending for Title I and Pell Grants will increase and will make emergency funds available to public schools and state universities.

See more on this story from the New York Times.



College Affordability Group Urges Obama, Congress to Help Students

Students: here’s one group that’s looking out for you, The Campaign for College Affordability. This group recently sent Congress and the Obama administration a letter urging them to tackle the college affordability crisis as a part of the stimulus package. They point out that approximately 400,000 students are priced out of the higher education system in the United States every year, and that at this rate, the U.S. workforce will be short $16 million degree holders by 2025.

Here’s what the Campaign for College Affordability proposes:

  1. An increase of the Pell Grant maximum by at least $500 to $5200 (which Obama has proposed as well in his stimulus package proposal), and a subsequent increase of the maximum to $7200 for the following year. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s Plan for Higher Education in the Stimulus Package

president barack obamaSo what exactly does President Obama have in mind in terms of using stimulus package funds for higher education?  Information about Obama’s higher education plan — and everything else in Obama’s proposed American Reinvestment and Recovery Plan — is available on the newly revamped White House website.

In a nutshell, here’s what Obama wants to do for higher education.

  1. Increase the minimum Pell Grant by $500.
  2. Create a $2500 partially refundable higher education tax cut for close to 4 million students, which will affect about one-fifth of high school seniors who currently receive no tax break under the current system.
  3. Triple the number of fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students in science.
  4. Prevent layoffs and educational cuts throughout the country.

Will this happen? If so, will this work?  Stay tuned!



Obama Wants to Help College Students; McCain Says Students on Their Own

The two candidates couldn’t differ more on any hot-button issue you toss in front of them. Their positions on supporting American college students is also quite the contrast, as are their individual college experiences. Obama attended Columbia and Harvard, and only recently paid off his student loan debt; McCain attended the U.S. Naval Academy, which was free.

Amongst a crashing economy where college tuition support is harder to come by, and college tuition is skyrocketing faster than inflation, one candidate is in favor of the government lending support to college students, while the other thinks that you should cram in a night job between an 18-hour class schedule- plus labs and study groups. While they agree that college tuition isn’t affordable to most Americans and that the process to attain that aid is convuluted- the similarities part there.

McCain’s message when it comes to increased tuition is, ‘You’re on your own,’” says Michael Dannenberg, senior fellow with the New America Foundation and not a member of Obama’s campaign. “Obama’s message to families is, ‘We’ll give you more financial aid to help you with college costs, but your kids are going to have to help others.'”

Obama’s plan is more detailed than McCains, albeit with a larger price tag. His position is that it’s the government’s job to support college students persuing a degree. He’s not giving it away- in exchange for 100 hours of community service each year, the government will offer students a $4,000 tax break. McCain has put focus on making the financial aid system more efficient, but does not intend to increase its breadth. He wants parents to be more informed and says more money can be available if we eliminate wasteful spending. Read the rest of this entry »





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