Pell Grant Cuts Affect More than Just Students

President Barack Obama's proposed cuts to higher education are not going without some heated debate, and students won't be the only ones affected by the cuts in Pell Grant funding.

The students would be directly affected by the cuts, but schools will also suffer.

John Downey, president of Blue Ridge Community College, says everyone needs to take part in helping to reduce the federal deficit, even higher education.

He says the programs that are being targeted, the Pell and Perkins grants, are the wrong programs to cut because of their economic impact.

Downey says, "Our workforce is depending on us to develop a better skilled student. With the Pell Grant cuts, we're not going to be able to provide the skilled workforce that our country is depending on us to provide."

Many states, including Virginia, have already made cuts to their budgets, resulting in tuition increases.

Downey says BRCC still has a $10 million unmet need of financial assistance students currently can't get.

By increasing that deficit even more, it could prevent some kids from ever going to college at all.

Courtney Morgan is a student who has received Pell Grants for her education.

Like many students, she wouldn't be able to fund her education had she not received the grant.

Morgan says, "Trying to come up with full tuition money is really hard so getting the two grants that I got, it took a whole load off, I have my full tuition paid for. Plus a little extra for books."

Student's aren't the only ones who will be affected by the cuts. Schools could see a decrease in available jobs, and there's a greater impact on the local economy.

Downey says, "Businesses will have a more difficult time finding the type of skilled employees that they need."

He says no one likes to see their programs targeted for cuts, but there are other areas of waste that could be cut and students can't bear the additional costs anymore.

While many education sectors like the Pell Grant are facing cuts, Obama's budget proposal would actually increase the education budget as a whole by $2 billion.


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