CLASP on the Ryan Budget
By Vickie Choitz
On March 23, the House Budget Committee released additional details to Rep. Ryan's FY2013 budget proposal. This post updates a previous post with these new details.
The House FY 2013 Budget Resolution released by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan makes vague but undeniable threats to the Pell Grant program, proposing to limit funding and further tighten eligibility requirements. The premises for these threats--that Pell is on an unsustainable path and that it increases tuition--are wholly unsupported by the facts, and further cuts to this program are extremely misguided.
The House Budget Committee's report released on Friday provides more detail on proposed cuts to Pell and other student financial aid. These include:
• Rolling back to pre-2007 levels the amount of income students are able to protect in the student aid formula before their aid is reduced as well as the income level at which students would automatically be deemed unable to contribute financially to their education. These changes were made in 2007 on a bi-partisan vote specifically to better target aid to needy students; rolling them back violates that bi-partisan support and will directly harm these students.
• Eliminating eligibility for students when they have to reduce their course load to less than half time (less than 6 credit hours) due to unavailability of courses, heavier or inflexible work schedules or family obligations. This short-sighted cut risks losing these students altogether and reducing college persistence and success rates precisely when the nation needs to be increasing them.
• Flat funding the maximum Pell Grant at $5,550, eliminating an already agreed upon increase to $5,635.
• Eliminating administrative fees paid to colleges to help process Pell Grants and other student aid.