"While the federal budget proposal released by the White House stresses national security and public safety, higher education leaders blasted the spending blueprint Thursday as one that will make college less accessible, less affordable and set back the nation’s workforce and research interests," Diverse: Issues in Higher Education reports.
"Among other things, stakeholders took the White House to task for seeking to 'raid' surplus Pell grant funding for $3.9 million, seeking to scrap a separate program that enables colleges and universities to target assistance toward their neediest students, and cutting back on federal college access programs — such as GEAR UP and TRIO — that they say provide crucial help to low-income students.
... Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, or NASFAA, said the proposed budget would 'close the door for countless students around the country who rely on federal student aid programs to pay for college.'
'Using budgeting tactics that take valuable financial resources away from low- and middle-income students not only hinders their pursuit of a college education, it delays the economic growth of the country,' Draeger said.
Draeger took the White House to task for its proposal to eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) Program — which provided grants to some 1.5 million students in 2013-2014.
The White House says SEOG is 'less well targeted' than the Pell grant program and that getting rid of it would 'reduce complexity' and ultimately save $732 million.
Erin Timmons, director of communications for NAFSAA, said the SEOG program provides grant assistance to students who show 'exceptional financial need.' The average award amount was $598 and just under 70 percent of grant recipients came from families whose income was less than $30,000, Timmons said.
'Schools have awarding discretion within certain parameters, which allows them to target the funds to the neediest students based on individual circumstances,' Timmons explained. She said the awards are made up of 75 percent federal funds and 25 percent qualified nonfederal funds, 'so without FSEOG, schools would be forced to find other means of support for their neediest students.'"
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Publication Date: 3/17/2017