Paul Ryan's Pell Grant cuts are unjust, misguided


Paul Ryan and those Republican budget cutters are at it again. This time they're going right for the jugular vein of the higher education financial aid system: Pell Grants. Paul Ryan's budget would cut $170 billion from the already underfunded and high-demand program.

Pell Grants are a vital aid source for low-income college students, helping them pay college tuition. The Education Trust and others in higher education estimate that over 1 million students would lose out on a Pell Grant over 10 years if this becomes a reality. In a time where tuition and books costs are strangling many low-income and working class students, why are we cutting when we should be funding this vital program? Oh I forgot, education is a privilege according to the 1%.

Wrong. Education is a human right. It is the basis on which knowledge, and with that empowerment, is founded. Everyone should have that chance to have some of that knowledge and empowerment, regardless of income.

I see it every day at my school. Even at a public community college like mine where tuition is deeply discounted for all county residents, students are still struggling to pay the bill. Even after all the state and federal grants, and the high-interest private loans, they're still weighed down with test, activity, and textbook fees on top of tuition.

And now Republicans want to cut Pell Grants? Throw away the chance for 1 million students to better themselves? I don't think so. Pell Grants are a critical program which must be funded at all costs.

I have long called in previous education articles for higher education reforms. These reforms in the interim would include a temporary massive increase in funding for Pell Grants to cover more students. Other goals would include passage of the Student Loan Forgiveness Act, and the eventual abolition of student loans themselves which are unjust, and crippling.

Both Pell Grants and loans would be replaced by permanent guaranteed federal scholarships available to all students who opt for attendance at a public college, university, or vocational/technical school. These scholarships would be funded through a strong central progressive taxation scheme with the burden being on the top incomes.

Education should never be a tool of the privileged few. If we cut Pell Grants and fail to reform higher education we are looking at education becoming a private sector business with no public support. Millions of students ,many of them low-income, minority, and working class, would be left without a means of empowerment. That to me is unjust and misguided. Education is the right and lifeblood of the 99%.

Photo: Even with a computer and a calculator most college students are struggling to find ways to pay for their education. Jay LaPrete/AP


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  • I agree fully with Lado's statement, "Education is a human right. It is the basis on which knowledge, and with that empowerment, is founded. Everyone should have that chance to have some of that knowledge and empowerment, regardless of income." It looks like Ryan continues to bahave like a leech, politically and otherwise, trying to cut the Pell Grant. After his handi-work is done (if, that is), I guess it could be called the "Hell Grant." Given their behavior and actions, how more is it evident that the Right, etc. are more than unqualified for office, and beyond that. Anyone thinking otherwise is in deep, ugly denial.

    Posted by revolution123, 09/05/2012 4:24pm (3 years ago)

  • I agree that Pell Grant funds should not be cut. But before we go punching on the cuts, let's face the fact that the price of College is going up with no end in sight.

    Less or More Pell Grant makes no difference in a school where you tuition can go up a few hundred to a thousand dollars a year and you are taking out more loans to cover that. I know kids who Pell Grants cover student fee's and maybe 10 percent of their tuition bill and based on their parents income, some don't even get the full amount.

    It's rough and I hope that Ryan thinks twice about it because it will really hurt the youth but they need to focus on the price of college and the fact is, college is out of reach for a lot of youth and that has nothing to do with the Pell Grant you get. Spots at Community College's are filling up fasters and State Schools are seeing increases in Tuition. This a bubble that will be bursting very soon and no amount of Pell Grant or Federal funding is going to stop it.

    We needs caps on this stuff.

    I do not believe education is only for a select group of people because clearly, everyone needs it but we need to teach the youth, more than anyone, that education doesn't have to put you in debt 200k for a degree in Woman's Studies. It's senseless and they are not going to get any decent job with that degree. Colleges need to hand it to them straight when it comes to these majors. Don't tell me to pick what I want, knowing the outlook for that degree has no decent kind of growth.

    Also, I don't agree with the term 99%. Am I a billionaire? No where near it. I barely have a thousands bucks in my bank account (check and savings) but I do not believe that the top earners in the US are to blame for my woes and I refuse to see them as someone different from me or higher than me. I am just as smart and I hope to be just a profitable in life. No one is looking for a billion dollars but I won't knock those who gained it because I won't deny that I would love to have that kind of success and want to make sure my future kids (a long time before I have those) have the possibility of seeing it also.

    As the saying goes, don't hate the players, hate the game.

    Anyways, Good luck in school! The start of the semester is here and I'm excited. Accounting Major to be declared soon!!

    Posted by Chasing Pavements, 09/01/2012 5:16pm (3 years ago)

  • time for Direct Action! Educators,students and all peoples that would see social justice in the world, take to the streets like the comrades in Canada are doing right now.

    They say "cutback"
    We say "FIGHTBACK"

    Posted by Le Revolutionnaire, 08/31/2012 3:11pm (3 years ago)

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