• News Releases
  • November18th

    As part of our Save Student Aid! Campaign, the Student Aid Alliance yesterday delivered a statement of support for federal student aid funding signed by more than 100,000 people to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The Alliance is already hearing positive feedback from a number of those members’ offices this morning.

    Hundreds of college and university presidents, as well as thousands of students, administrators and citizens from all types of institutions nationwide pledged their support for student aid. The campaign was launched on Oct. 24, 2011, and thousands more supporters are joining each day.

    Student Aid Alliance co-chairs Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE, and David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said: “This remarkable public response demonstrates that student aid is an issue of deep concern to millions of students, educators and families. They know real solutions to the federal debt start with growing our economy, and our economy will only grow if we have a skilled and educated work force.”

    Read the Press Release

     

     

  • August1st

    As students and educators, our members understand the necessity of raising the debt ceiling in order to pay the bills the nation has incurred and preserve our standing as a leader among nations of the world. We commend the president and both political parties for reaching an agreement that provides $17 billion in funding to maintain the critical Pell Grant Program. Such support is vital to ensuring that talented and deserving students will have the means to earn their degrees.

    However, this deal comes at real cost to other students. The elimination of the in-school interest exemption for graduate and professional students and on-time repayment incentives for student borrowers will result in college becoming more expensive for millions of students and their families.

    Moreover, in combination with other recent legislation, there is a clear pattern of an assault on the core student aid programs that looks to continue into next year. Already this year we have seen:

    • The elimination of year-round Pell Grants;

    • The elimination of the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) Program;

    • The elimination of the in-school interest exemption for graduate and professional students;

    • The elimination of on-time repayment incentives for student borrowers;

    • Funding cuts to the TRIO Programs, GEAR UP, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) Program and graduate education programs

    These cuts amount to more than $30 billion that has been taken out of the pockets of cash-strapped college students even before the FY 2012 appropriations process is finalized. Since the caps on discretionary spending for FY 2012 will be $7 billion lower than FY 2011 and the FY 2013 levels will be $3 billion lower than FY 2011, we know there will be more attempts to raid student aid programs going forward.

    With widespread recognition that our nation sorely needs to power up its economic engine, it is more important than ever to preserve and provide adequate funding for the array of federal student aid programs that offer today’s students an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills that the nation requires. Work force projections forecast that by 2018, there will be jobs for as many as 2.2 million new workers with college degrees, but on our current trajectory, there will be a shortage of 3 million workers who need an associate’s degree or higher. In addition, about 2.5 million new jobs will require an advanced degree.

    Congress and the administration should not attempt to balance the budget on the backs of students.

  • July29th

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, July 29, 2011

    The budget plans developed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have one thing in common: they both try to do the right thing for low- and middle-income college students by sustaining funding for the Pell Grant program in a deficit neutral way. Now, some members of the House are trying to go back on that commitment and end the dream of college for millions of students.

    This year, Congress has already cut over $9 billion from the Pell Grant program, terminated the federal matching grants program in partnership with the states, and found it necessary to tax graduate and professional student loans to pay for stabilizing Pell Grants.

    We call on Congress to hold firm on the original Boehner/Reid debt limit measures, and stop the dangerous talk of balancing the budget on the backs of students.

    The Student Aid Alliance is a coalition of organizations representing millions of students, parents, colleges and universities, and others, who believe that all qualified students should be able to go to college, regardless of their financial resources.

    CONTACTS:
    American Council on Education
    Erin A. Hennessy, (202) 939-9367

    National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities:
    Tony Pals
    , (202) 739-0474

  • April6th

    WASHINGTON, DC (April 5, 2011)—The Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget proposal released by the House Budget Committee today takes aim at the more than 9 million students who rely on Pell Grants to go to college. Regardless of whether the proposal to slash funding to its 2008 level targets the maximum grant or funding for the entire program, the result would be a devastating blow to financially challenged students and families.

    There is no question that the recent economic downturn has put unsustainable pressure on federal student aid programs, and there is no question that reducing the deficit is part of ensuring a healthy economic recovery. But proposals to reduce the cost of the Pell Grant Program should be driven by economic need and rational analysis rather than ideology. The magnitude of the Pell Grant cuts contained in the House budget proposal simply fails that test.

    More low-income students and unemployed workers are seeking postsecondary education, and America’s long-term economic health is increasingly dependent on a highly educated work force. Slashing Pell Grants will hurt millions of students who are going to college to improve their lives and train for 21st century jobs. Because of the economic downturn, more students and families need federal student aid.

    We take strong exception to the argument made in the House budget proposal that Pell Grants make higher education less affordable and less accessible.

    Numerous studies have found no link between financial aid and tuition. Specifically, two federal studies*, conducted during the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations, found no evidence federal financial aid leads to tuition increases. Instead, long-term declines in state support for higher education are primarily responsible for the growth in tuition rates at public institutions. In 35 states, covering nearly two-thirds of public institutions, the authority to control tuition and fees resides outside the institution, often in the hands of state legislators or governors. Reductions in state support make federal financial aid even more critical in enabling students to attend.

    In addition, recent campus actions suggest increases in federal student aid over the past two years have helped temper tuition growth at private nonprofit colleges and universities. On average, private nonprofit institutions raised published tuition in 2009-10 by the lowest rate since 1972 (4.3 percent) and raised tuition in 2010-11 by the second lowest rate since 1972 (4.5 percent). In those two years, private colleges increased institutional student aid by 9 percent and 6.8 percent respectively. Adjusted for inflation, net tuition at private nonprofit colleges and universities actually declined 11.2 percent from 2005-06 to 2010-11.

    These measures were possible only because increased funding for Pell Grants and other federal student aid programs helped to take some of the pressure off strained campus budgets. The federal deficit should not be balanced on the backs of low-income students. Congress must act now to stop the raid on student aid.

    * Study of College Costs and Prices, 1988-89 to 1997-98, Vol.1, National Center for Education Statistics, December 2001; Straight Talk about College Costs & Prices, National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, February 1998

    The Student Aid Alliance is a coalition of 62 higher education organizations committed to protecting the federal student aid programs.

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    CONTACTS:

    Erin Hennessy
    American Council on Education
    (202) 939-9367
    erin_hennessy@ace.nche.edu

    Tony Pals
    National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
    (202) 739-0474
    tony@naicu.edu

  • March21st

    The Student Aid Alliance, a coalition of 62 higher education organizations committed to protecting the federal student aid programs, today unveiled a new website to help students and higher education leaders make the case for protecting Pell Grants and other core federal student aid programs from drastic budget cuts.

    The new site highlights student success stories, integrates the Student Aid Alliance’s new Facebook page and Twitter account, provides an action center for contacting policymakers, and gives access to data on the prevalence of federal student aid by state and congressional district.

    The new site is being launched as Congress continues to work on a budget deal for the current fiscal year. The House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1) on February 19 that deeply cuts the core student aid programs, including reducing the maximum Pell Grant by 15 percent and reducing grants for more than 9 million low-income students, and eliminating the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Leveraging Education Assistance Partnerships (LEAP) programs. (See the list below for how H.R. 1 impacts all of the student aid programs.)

    A two-week stopgap funding bill signed by President Obama on March 2 eliminated LEAP, which is the seed money for at least $ 1 billion in state-provided aid across the country.

    The federal budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year beyond mid-March is still up in the air, and student aid is still on the table for more cuts.

    “America will need a highly skilled workforce if our economy is to recover and thrive,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, and co-chair of the Student Aid Alliance. “Federal student aid gives our nation’s most needy students the means to access critical educational opportunities and become better prepared for the 21st century work environment. Student aid remains the best investment in human capital we can make as a society.”

    “Federal student aid funding is at risk of being cut at the worst possible time for low-income students and the nation,” said David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and co-chair of the Student Aid Alliance. “Students and college leaders need to continue the drumbeat of support for student aid, explaining how important these funds are to low-income students, regional economies, and the future of the United States.”

    What’s At Stake For Student Aid in H. R. 1?

    H. R. 1, as passed by the House on February 19, makes drastic cuts to the core student aid programs. The Student Aid Alliance – a coalition of more than 60 higher education organizations — supports the restoration of these funds in FY 2011, and looks to maintain these important programs in FY 2012.

    The Senate should restore funding for student aid in its version of H. R. 1; and the House should accept the restorations in final negotiations.

    The Student Aid Alliance will continue to work with Congress, our members, and the media, to ensure that Washington understands that it cannot balance the budget on the backs of students.

    What’s at stake for our programs:

    • Pell Grants: H. R. 1 cuts the Pell Grant maximum by $845, lowering grants for more than 9 million low-income students.
    • SEOG: H. R. 1 eliminates funding for this supplemental grant aid for the poorest Pell Grant recipients, cutting an average of $736 from 1.3 million students, and up to $4,000 for the poorest.
    • LEAP: H. R. 1 eliminates funding for the seed money for state student aid programs, cutting at least $1 billion in state aid across the country.
    • TRIO: H. R. 1 cuts TRIO by $25 million, which would cause approximately 96,000 students to lose program services. It would also result in the loss of nearly 500 jobs, making it more difficult for colleges to provide the support services at-risk students need to stay in and complete their higher education.
    • GEAR UP: H. R. 1 cuts GEAR UP by $20 million, excluding more than 40,000 low-income, minority and disadvantaged students from receiving the support they need to prepare for college. More than 100 grants expire in 2011, decreasing the number of teachers, parents and schools helping these students.
    • The Student Aid Alliance also supports Federal Work Study, GAANN and Javits graduate programs, and Perkins Loans.

     


    Media Contacts

    Ginnie Pera
    American Council on Education
    (202) 939-9368
    ginnie_pera@ace.nche.edu

    Tony Pals
    National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
    (202) 739-0474
    tony@naicu.edu

  • February28th

    This is a copy of the letter we just sent to Congress.

    United States Senate
    Washington, D.C. 20510

    Dear Senator:

    As the Senate moves forward on a short-term Continuing Appropriations Act, we are pleased Congress is acting to prevent a federal government shutdown, since a shutdown would have resulted in a delay of essential aid to millions of students who need federal grants and loans to attend college. This temporary solution has come at a high price, however: the elimination of the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP) Program, which encourages states to partner with the federal government to make grants to low-income college students.

    At a time when the federal government is seeking to do more with less, eliminating the LEAP Program is particularly shortsighted. The LEAP Program’s federal allocation of $64 million generates more than $1 billion in financial aid for over 1 million American students. This represents an average award of $1,700, and can be the difference between earning a degree and dropping out of college for the over 80 percent of LEAP families earning less than $40,000 a year.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in January the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 4.5 percent, compared to 12 percent for those with a high school diploma or less. Educated workers also earn substantially more: Employees with a bachelor’s degree out-earn employees with only a high school diploma by $20,748 annually.

    If our economy is to recover and thrive again, we will need precisely the kind of skilled workers the LEAP Program has produced. We regret that in the understandable urgency to reach a compromise on short-term funding, the highly effective and efficient LEAP Program has been targeted. In combination with other cuts proposed to Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) and other student aid programs, these reductions will have both
    immediate and long-term negative impacts on our country’s economic competitiveness.

    Sincerely,

    Molly Corbett Broad
    Co-Chairman

    David Warren
    Co-Chairman