Details of how student aid funding fared in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget deal between the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House just became available last night. This agreement will affect funding for the 2011-12 academic year.
What’s Happened: Student Aid for the 2011-12 Academic Year
- The Pell Grant maximum remains at $5,550.
- The year-round Pell (used for summer study) is eliminated.
- The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program is maintained, but with a cut of $20 million (from $757 million), in addition to an across-the-board cut of 0.2 percent. SEOG provides additional grant aid for the neediest Pell recipients.
- The Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) program’s $64 million budget is eliminated. LEAP provides seed money to encourage states to create student grant programs. The result could be the elimination of at least $1 billion in state aid across the country.
- Federal Work Study receives a 0.2 percent across-the-board cut.
- Federal TRIO Programs are cut by $25 million.
- The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) are cut by $20 million.
It is clear the advocacy efforts by students and other supporters were a major factor in students not seeing more dire cuts this year. Congress was persuaded by the fact that student aid letters had already gone out for the coming academic year.
What’s Next: Student Aid for the 2012-13 Academic Year
We face a major challenge as Congress now moves to the Fiscal Year 2012 spending proposal. The climate for the FY 2012 budget is going to be even more challenging for student aid funding than this year.
The House Budget Committee started the process last week. This marks just the beginning of the funding deliberations, but Congress wants to move quickly.
The House budget proposal for FY 2012 would:
- Reduce Pell Grants, including an undecided cut to the maximum of at least $550.
- Eliminate the in-school interest subsidy for both undergraduate and graduate loans.
- Repeal the 2007 expansion of Income-Based Repayment for student loans.
- Make major cuts to the overall pool of money available for Education, Labor and Health and Human Services (no list of specific programs is yet available).
As FY 2012 budget deliberations move forward, it will be critical to keep telling elected officials that student aid matters!