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  • April8th

    Recently, Rep. Paul Ryan released a preliminary budget for fiscal year 2015. Below is our response, in the form of a letter we sent to the House of Representatives–including Rep. Ryan, who is chairman of the House Budget Committee–on April 7, 2014.

    Dear Representative:

    On behalf of the millions of students, educators, administrators and college presidents we represent, we urge you to oppose the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget Resolution when it comes to the floor for a vote.

    The budget proposed by Chairman Ryan for FY 2015 would make devastating cuts to college aid and access programs. It would do so at a time when America needs more skilled workers than it has, and is in danger of losing the intellectual arms race with countries such as China, India and South Korea, which have chosen to accelerate their investments in postsecondary education.

    Among the damaging changes proposed by this budget resolution are:

    • Freezing the maximum Pell Grant at $5,730 for the next 10 years, and eliminating mandatory funding for the program. This would result in a loss of $90 billion for the foundation of federal student aid.
    • Eliminating or reducing eligibility criteria for Pell Grants, causing millions of students to lose their Pell Grants entirely or see them significantly reduced.
    • Eliminating the in-school interest subsidy for student loans, making undergraduate loans more expensive by $41 billion over 10 years.
    • Repealing the expansion of the Income-Based Repayment program, simultaneously adding burden to students while restricting the tools they have to repay their debts.
    • Proposing deep cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding, and shifting defense sequester cuts to non-defense programs starting in FY 2016, which would result in NDD funding below the FY 2013 sequester levels.

    This budget resolution would devastate funding for the other core postsecondary aid programs. Programs like the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study, TRIO, GEAR UP and others would face significant reductions, leaving deserving students with fewer and fewer resources just as Pell Grants are cut and the cost of borrowing rises significantly.

    Cuts like these are simply unsustainable if America aims to continue its leadership role in the world economy. Rather than building a stronger country with the skills and talents to excel in the global marketplace, this budget would put American students and workers at a disadvantage relative to their competition abroad. It would be damaging now, and for decades to come.

    We urge you to vote against this budget resolution and to support a stronger, better educated and more competitive American future.


    Molly Corbett Broad

    David Warren

    On behalf of: 

    Alliance for Excellent Education
    American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education 
    American Association of Colleges of Nursing 
    American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine 
    American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy 
    American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers 
    American Association of Community Colleges 
    American Association of State Colleges and Universities 
    American Association of University Professors 
    American Council on Education 
    American Dental Education Association 
    American Federation of Teachers
    American Indian Higher Education Consortium 
    American Society for Engineering Education 
    American Student Association of Community Colleges 
    APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities
    Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools 
    Association of American Law Schools 
    Association of American Medical Colleges 
    Association of American Universities
    Association of Community College Trustees 
    Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges 
    Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities 
    Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities 
    Association of Research Libraries 
    Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations 
    College Parents of America 
    Columbia University
    Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area
    Council for Christian Colleges and Universities 
    Council for Higher Education Accreditation 
    Council for Opportunity in Education 
    Council of Graduate Schools 
    Council of Independent Colleges 
    Educational Testing Service 
    Georgetown University
    Harvard University
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Michigan State University
    NAFSA: Association of International Educators
    NASSGAP Federal Relations Committee
    National Association for College Admission Counseling 
    National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education 
    National Association of College and University Business Officers 
    National Association of College Stores 
    National Association of Graduate and Professional Students 
    National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
    National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs 
    National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators 
    National College Access Network 
    National Collegiate Athletic Association
    National Council for Community and Education Partnerships 

    National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs, Inc. 
    National Council of University Research Administrators 
    National Education Association
    New York Higher Education Services Corp.
    New York Student Aid Alliance
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education 
    The California State University
    The College Board
    The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
    The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
    The Ohio State University
    U.S. Public Interest Research Group 
    United Negro College Fund 
    United States Student Association 
    University of California
    University of Maryland System
    University of Massachusetts System
    University of Michigan
    University of Southern California
    University of Washington
    University Professional & Continuing Education Association 
    Utah Valley State College
    Vanderbilt University
    Womens College Coalition


  • September6th

    On July 1, 2013 interest rates on many new federal student loans doubled–endangering the dreams of many middle class families. If this sounds familiar, its because we went through this last summer. The Student Aid Alliance rallied thousands of students across the country and Twitter was ablaze with the hashtag #studentfiscalcliff — we were out to let lawmakers know not to balance the budget on the backs of our nation’s college students.

    Congress kept interest rates low for one year–and now, that year has disappeared. Congress let the July 1 deadline pass without a deal, so come the fall, the interest rate on new subsidized student loans doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%. According to the White House, nearly seven million students will be affected by the rate increase, adding around $4.3 billion to the student debt burden next year.

    Even though the deadline has passed, Congress is still negotiating. Stay in the loop here.

    Pondering Pell (Inside Higher Education)

    Student-Loan Changes, With Lower Rates for Now, Are Set to Be Signed Into Law (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Congress Approves Student Loan Plan (Washington Post)

    Obama Administration Urges Passage of Senate Student-Loan Compromise (Education Week)

    Senate Reaches Deal to End Fight Over Student Loan Interest Rates (The New York Times)

    Senate Crafts a Deal on Student-Loan Interest Rates (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Senate Negotiates on Loans as Clock Ticks (National Journal)

    Even With Student-Loan Compromise, Rates Will Likely Increase (National Journal)

    Interest-Rate Jump Would Cost Average Borrowers $2,600 Over 10 Years (Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Senators Scramble to Prevent Doubling of Student-Loan Rates (National Journal)

    Kline Calls for Compromise on Student Loan Rates (Education & the Workforce Committee)

    Arne Duncan Bullish on Student Loan Deal (Politico.com)

    Everything You Need to Know About the Student Loan Rate Hike (Washington Post)

    Arne Duncan Signals Worry Over Student Debt Levels (Huffington Post)

    Moral Bankruptcy on Student Loans (Huffington Post)



  • May15th

    I come from one of the poorest parts of New York City, in the borough of Brooklyn. I am also one of three children in a single parent home; before moving to Brooklyn, my family actually spent time living in a shelter. Thanks to the federal Pell Grant Program, a scholarship from the school that I attend, and Federal Work-Study, I have been given the BEST opportunity of my life–the opportunity to attend one of the most prestigious liberal arts institutions in America, College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Attending Holy Cross costs more than $52,000 a year and there is no way that I would ever have been able to attend this school without help. I am eternally grateful for the student aid that I receive because it has allowed me to be the first person in my family to attend college. I can say with confidence that had it not been for the financial aid that I receive to attain a higher education, I might not have the opportunity to make a better life for my family and me.

  • April18th

    President Obama will hold a special live Facebook town hall discussion on April 20. Facebook is selecting questions to ask the president. We encourage all friends and supporters of the Student Aid Alliance to submit questions for the event. We want to make sure the president remains firm in his support of federal student aid, and protects the programs that help students pay for college and keep America competitive.

    There are two ways to submit questions:

    Here are some sample questions:

    • Mr. President, the House of Representatives has voted to slash federal student aid. Will you let those draconian cuts stand in the FY 2012 budget?
    • I recognize that reducing the federal debt is key to our nation’s future prosperity. So is an educated workforce. Mr. President, how will you make sure needy students like me have an opportunity to contribute to our country’s future prosperity?
    • Balancing the federal budget is a good idea, but it should not be done on the backs of students. How will we innovate our way to a brighter future if students are not able to pursue a college degree?
    • Thank you Mr. President for fighting for Pell Grant funding. If not for the other federal student aid programs, I would not be able to continue my higher education. Will you protect the funding of the other student aid programs, too?

    Take action today to support student aid!  Thank you once again for your support.

  • April8th

    President Obama and congressional leaders continue to negotiate details of a FY 2011 budget deal, but the clock is running out this afternoon. As we anxiously wait to see if the federal government will shut down tonight, we want to give you an update on what it would mean for the federal student aid programs — and ask you to help make sure that student aid cuts in continuing budget negotiations are as modest as possible.

    Funding for the 2011-12 Academic Year (beginning July 1, 2011)

    Practically speaking, if the government shuts down tonight, the immediate impact on students is not likely to be great. However, the large issue for student aid funding is how much funding will be cut in the deal itself. The budget compromise will most likely include elimination of “year-round Pell” funding, effective July 1, 2011. The fate of SEOG funding is unclear. Funding has already been eliminated for the LEAP state grant program for the 2011-12 award year, meaning that state need-based aid will be reduced $64 million starting July 1, 2011.

    Funding for the 2012-13 Academic Year (beginning July 1, 2012)

    While the leadership has been working all week on a deal for FY 2011, as outlined above, the House Budget Committee has begun work on the next fiscal year. The ramifications for student aid funding in FY 2012 are dire.

    The House Budget Committee approved a FY 2012 budget plan Wednesday that, in the worst-case scenario, could slash the maximum Pell Grant to as low as $1,400 as of July 1, 2012, and could eliminate SEOG and other student aid programs. Committee staff mentioned a $5,000 maximum Pell Grant, the elimination of the in-school interest subsidy for all student loans, and the repeal of SAFRA during the mark up.

    Act Now!

    Now is the time for us to respond to this effort to slash student aid. As we face the growing prospect of a government shutdown this weekend, we need to remind both Democrats and Republicans that student aid is an investment in the future of our nation, and must be protected. CLICK HERE to go to our Action Center, where you can quickly create and send a message to your members of Congress.

    President Obama and congressional leaders continue to negotiate details of a FY 2011 budget deal, but the clock is running out this afternoon.  As we anxiously wait to see if the federal government will shut down tonight, we want to give you an update on what it would mean for the federal student aid programs.  We also want to ask for your continued help in making sure that student aid cuts in continuing budget negotiations are as modest as possible.
  • April7th

    Without the partnership between the federal government, states, institutions and families, millions of students would not be able to go to college.

    We call on the 111th Congress to continue its bipartisan support of the federal student aid programs – which combine grant, work-study, and loan programs to enable low-income students to succeed.

    The Student Aid Alliance is a coalition of organizations representing 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.

    The Pell Grant Maximum should be $5,550.
    The Student Aid Alliance greatly appreciates the increases in the Pell Grant maximum award provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for FY 2009, and asks that sufficient appropriations be provided to ensure a $5,550 grant in FY 2010. We support this historic level of grant assistance. We also appreciate the $200 million increase for the Federal Work Study Program provided for FY 2009 and FY 2010 through ARRA.

    SEOG funding should be increased to $1 billion.
    The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program provides up to an additional $4,000 in grant assistance to Pell Grant recipients in order of need. SEOG expands college options for these students. By law, colleges and universities match one-to-three the federal SEOG funds, and often far exceed this matching level, multiplying the federal investment in low-income students.

    The Perkins Loan Program Federal Capital Contribution should be increased to the newly reauthorized level of $300 million; and loan cancellations should be increased to $125 million.

    There is renewed interest in this campus-based, low-interest, federal student loan program, with the administration’s proposal to restructure Perkins, and make major investments in its success. While congressional committees deliberate the possibilities for the future of Perkins Loans, we ask appropriators to increase funding for the program in FY 2010, which will allow institutions to provide more loans to lowincome students in these tough economic times.

    Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP) should be increased to $200 million.
    The LEAP program consists of two critical components – LEAP and GAP. The Federal LEAP program has been the foundation of state-matched need-based grants since 1972, generating more than $840 million for student grants each year. Over half of LEAP recipients are from families with incomes under $20,000. The newly authorized Grants for Access and Persistence (GAP) program will allow states to create robust partnerships with institutions of higher education, businesses, and philanthropic organizations to provide low-income students with additional need-based grants; increase participation in early intervention programs that provide information, mentoring and outreach services to students in middle and secondary schools; and provide early assurance of aid eligibility. This program can play a critical part in meeting the goals of the proposed Access and Completion Incentive Fund.

    TRIO program funding should be increased to $968 million.
    The TRIO programs are designed to help low-income, first-generation college students prepare for, enter, and graduate from college. TRIO Programs help students overcome non-financial barriers higher education through support services. Two-thirds of TRIO students come from families with incomes of less than $34,000 where neither parent graduated from college. The TRIO programs currently serve more than 840,000 students in all 50 states and some U.S. territories.

    Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) should be increased to the authorized level of $400 million.
    GEAR UP provides students from low-income schools with the necessary academic skills and aspirations successfully prepare for and succeed in college. The program uses a K-16 approach designed to increase student academic preparation and performance; create system education reform; and leverage additional matching resources beyond the federal investment, including businesses. With a foundation of early academic interventions, a strong academic core program, parental and community involvement, GEAR UP has served millions of low-income students in 48 states, four territories, and the District of Columbia since 1998.

    Graduate level programs should be increased to $77 million. Supporting the need-based educational programs that will create the next generation of scholars, faculty, and experts in a wide spectrum of fields will help address pressing national issues and the challenge of our economic downturn. Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need should be funded at $41 million. The Jacob Javits Fellowship program should be funded at $16 million. The Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity Program should be funded at $5 million. The Patsy T. Mink program should be funded at $15 million.