As part of the deficit-reduction efforts, Congress is attempting to cut Pell funding in their 2012 budget. In light of this, there is a nationwide push to help save Federal Pell Grant funding from being slashed by Congress. NAICU and the Student Aid Alliance are asking people to visit this website and “sign off” on their support of the Pell Grant program. Here is the website: http://action.studentaidalliance.org/5371/save-student-aid-statement-support/
The House wants to maintain the maximum grant of $5,550. In order to do so under the current budgetary constraints, it wants to make changes to the Pell Grant eligibility rules. These changes include:
- A reduction in the maximum number of semesters that students can receive the Pell Grant from 18 to 12,
- An elimination of Pell Grant eligibility for students that are attending school less than half-time,
- A reduction in the amount of a student’s personal earnings that can be excluded from a Pell Grant award calculation,
- A cut to the maximum family income that would automatically qualify a student for the maximum grant from $30,000 to $15,000
- The proposal would also end Pell Grant eligibility for students who qualify for less than 10 percent of the maximum grant.
The Senate wants to maintain the maximum grant by adding supplemental funding to the program. The supplemental funding that the Senate proposes would be paid for by the provision in its proposal that ends the interest-free benefit on the Subsidized Stafford loans during an undergraduate borrower’s six-month grace period after leaving school. This would mean that students with subsidized Stafford loans would start to accrue interest six months earlier and their loans would cost more in the loan run.
Neither of these proposals has become law yet and both are still in the negotiating stage. However, your voice can make a difference! Please take two minutes to click on the website listed above and also spread the word to your family and friends.