Facebook Campaign Seeks to Save Student Aid
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Haley Chitty
Director of Communications
Student groups, financial aid administrators launch Facebook campaign to oppose student aid cuts
Washington, D.C. -- February 22, 2011 -- The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) and the U.S. Student Association (USSA) have launched a Facebook campaign (Facebook.com/SaveStudentAid) to oppose legislation that would cut college students' federal student aid for the upcoming academic year.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a stop-gap spending bill (H.R. 1) on Saturday that would slash 2011-12 Pell Grant awards by more than 15 percent, reducing the maximum award from $5,550 to $4,705 -- a $845 cut. The Pell Grant program is the cornerstone of the federal student aid system that provides grants to 9.4 million low- and moderate-income undergraduates to pay for college and graduate into the workforce. These students are currently receiving financial aid packages from colleges and universities based on a $5,550 maximum Pell. If Congress cuts funding for Pell Grants, aid packages would be revised, cutting the average Pell award by $785 and eliminating grant access for hundreds of thousands of students.
"By threatening to cut student aid funding, Congress is creating financial uncertainty for the nation's most vulnerable students and families -- those who are already struggling to pay for college," said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. "If Congress cuts Pell Grants now, low and moderate income students and families will have little time to figure out how to come up with the additional funds they'll need to pay for college. In the best-case scenario, impacted students would be forced to take on additional student loan debt; in the worst-case they could delay -- or even abandon -- their college aspirations."
"The proposal to cuts Pell aid for next academic year couldn't come at a worse time," said Rich Williams, higher education advocate for U.S. PIRG. "Right now our high schools best and brightest seniors and current college students are deciding if they can afford college next year. The proposed cuts will discourage millions of students from pursuing college training and graduating at a time when our economy demands more highly skilled workers."
NASFAA, U.S. PIRG and USSA encourage students and families to join the Save Student Aid Facebook campaign to let lawmakers know the importance of Pell, and what would happen if Congress cut their grant. Check out the campaign online at http://www.facebook.com/SaveStudentAid.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals at 2,800 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. Each year, financial aid professionals help more than 16 million students receive funding for post secondary education. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit http://www.nasfaa.org.
About U.S. PIRG
The federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization. For more information, visit http://www.uspirg.org. For more on U.S. PIRG's Affordable Higher Education Campaign, visit http://www.uspirg.org/higher-education.
The United States Student Association, the country's oldest and largest student-led organization, represents over 4.5 million students at over 400 campuses across the nation. We work to develop current and future leaders and amplify the student voice at the local, state, and national levels by mobilizing grassroots power to win concrete victories on student issues. For more information about USSA, visit http://www.usstudents.org.
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