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.
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.