Government Cuts College Aid

November 27, 2004

In the coming year, 1.2 million low-income college students will have their financial aid slashed; as many as 100,000 students may lose their current Pell grants altogether.

The cuts are the result of the Department of Education arbitrarily changing the formula used to calculate family income. Under the new formula, families can no longer deduct state taxes from their income when applying for Pell grants. As a result, many students whose parents earn between $35,000-$40,000 will lose their Pell Grants altogether while others will have their grants cut back. In total, Pell grant aid will be reduced by $300 million.

These cuts in federal aid for college come at a time when tuition at public colleges and universities is soaring, largely as a result of cutbacks in state funding. As a result every year, more working class and minority youth are denied access to college while those who remain are running up huge debts. In other words, instead of the door to higher education being opened wider and wider, it is being slammed shut by the government's refusal to make the needed investments.