WASHINGTON — The president’s recently released 2006 budget will cut education funding. It will increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $100 in each of the next five years, but eliminate over 48 programs in the Department of Education that total $4.2 billion in cuts.

“While increasing the maximum Pell grant award is an important part of college affordability, the current proposal is misleading,” stated Ajita Talwalker, United States Student Association president. “A modest increase to the Pell grant while simultaneously attacking the other parts of a student’s aid package that are necessary for a student to go to school is not educational access.”

The proposal also includes cuts resulting in the elimination of critical programs that are essential to many students’ ability to obtain a college degree. Programs such as GEAR UP ($306.5 million), as well as TRIO Programs including Talent Search and Upward Bound ($467.2 million) are among the targeted programs. The budget also proposes eliminating the Perkins Loan Program ($66.1 million), Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership ($65.6 million), Javits Gifted and Talented Education ($11 million), and Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity Program ($3 million). With these proposals the doors to higher education will be slammed shut for many American families.

Students around the nation conducted a week of action in response to the cuts, Feb. 14-18. The week included a national call-in day on Feb. 16, as well as in-district lobby visits.

“Students will not let our elected representatives leave us behind. We will fight for the programs that we care about that make education a reality for American families,” said USSA Vice President Eddy Morales.

Reprinted with permission from the Young Communist League USA (www.yclusa.org) “YCL Update.”