• News Releases
  • 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

  • February15th

    Today, we expressed support for the President’s effort to maintain the core federal student aid programs, in particular the plan to ensure that the current Pell Grant maximum award level would remain at $5,550.

    “We are pleased that in addition to the Pell Grant Program, the administration continues to support the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), the Perkins Loan and the Federal Work-Study programs,” said SAA Co-Chairman and American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad. “While we do not agree with all the choices made, such as the elimination of the in-school interest exemption for graduate and professional students, we support the overall objective of ensuring a viable array of student aid choices anchored by the indispensible Pell Grant Program.”

    “We greatly applaud the President’s proposal to maintain the Pell Grant maximum at $5,550 and expand the Perkins Loan Program to more students. However, he has proposed to cut certain features from the student aid programs to pay for this grant level,” said SAA Co-Chairman and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities President David L. Warren. “We are particularly disappointed in the proposal to cut the graduate students in-school interest subsidy and Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP), as these are long-standing elements of the federal student aid system that should be retained.” “We look forward to working with members of both parties to find fiscally responsible ways to maintain the core student aid programs and preserve the maximum grant for the poorest students,” Warren said.

  • February14th

    We sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives asking them to oppose the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (H.R. 1), citing drastic cuts to student aid programs that will cause significant damage to the U.S. economy in both the short and long term.

    Last year, with the assistance of a Pell Grant, a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and other forms of state- and campus-based aid, more than 1 million American students earned their credentials and are now armed with the skills to compete and succeed in the current economy. Slashing financial aid that more than 9 million families are depending on as they budget for the fall semester, mere months from the July 1 deadline for making these awards, will force millions of students to drop out of school.

    “By denying students the opportunity and the means to complete their educations, the proposed cuts will result in a dramatic and immediate impact on the American economy and competitiveness, ultimately impairing the ability of millions of college students to achieve the American dream,” said SAA Co-Chairman and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities President David L. Warren.

    “Labor economists have found that the United States economy will require 22 million new workers with college degrees by 2018. However, they also estimate that the country will fall short of that number by at least 3 million,” said SAA Co-Chairman and American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad. “Without the trained workers to fill these jobs, America will risk falling behind countries like China and India that have invested heavily in educating their workforces. The proposed cuts will exacerbate these problems by failing to prepare students to enter and succeed in college.”

    Want to help? Contact Congress or the media and speak up!