March3rd

Today, Congress sends President Obama a two-week continuing resolution (CR), keeping the federal government running until March 18, but killing funding for the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) grant program for FY 2011. LEAP makes incentive grants to states to encourage retaining and expanding state scholarships for needy undergraduate and graduate students.

The House passed the CR on March 1, by a vote of 335 to 91; the Senate passed the bill this morning, by a vote of 91 to 9.

Elimination of the $64 million for LEAP state grant funding could be felt by students soon, once we see if cash-strapped states will continue to keep up their student grant funding, even without the federal requirements.

LEAP funds would have gone to states on July 1, for states to match and make available to students at public and private colleges for the 2011-12 academic year.

Colleges will need to check with their respective state student aid agencies to see what it will mean for students. With state budgets tight as well, low-income students could be short the grant aid they need to continue their studies in the fall.

LEAP annually generates approximately $1.3 billion in aid for nearly 1 million students. More than 50 percent of these students come from families with annual incomes below $20,000.

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