The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Student Aid Alliance Labels Bush 2005 Budget Inadequate (Statement by the Student Aid Alliance)
The Bush Administration’s fiscal year 2005 budget plan is totally inadequate to meet the needs of America’s college students and their families. At both the state and federal levels, financial support for higher education is evaporating, placing at risk the college aspirations of millions of would-be students. The impact of the Administration’s student aid budget reaches well beyond the students themselves, and has consequences for the nation as a whole: increasing the country’s average level of education by even one year can boost economic growth by up to 15 percent, and increased educational attainment also accounts for more than a quarter of U.S. productivity gains.
Instead of investing in federal student aid, the Administration’s budget puts college assistance on hold. It freezes the Pell Grant maximum award at $4,050, for the third consecutive year, resulting in 8,000 fewer grants for needy students than last year. The budget plan eliminates two key programs – Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (state matching grants) and Perkins Loan Capital Contributions (low-interest loans) providing direct assistance to millions of low-income college students. And finally, the budget fails to provide a single increase above current funding levels for any of the other important student aid programs: Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG); Federal Work-Study; the two early awareness programs, TRIO and GEAR UP; and the three graduate assistance programs, Javits Fellowships, Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GANN), and the Thurgood Marshall program. College enrollment is slated to grow by 19 percent between now and 2015, making federal student aid even more essential than it has ever been as a means of ensuring that all of America’s young people are allowed to reach their potential. The members of the Student Aid Alliance call on Congress to reverse the Administration’s shortsighted budget proposals for federal student aid, and to restore these proven programs to a path of steady growth and investment. The Student Aid Alliance is a coalition of organizations representing students, parents, student financial aid administrators, colleges and universities, and others who believe that all qualified students should be able to go to college regardless of their financial circumstances. The federal government plays a pivotal role in ensuring postsecondary educational opportunity. Currently, the federal government provides 73 percent of all student aid. Without it, millions of students could not attend college. Contact: Tony Pals, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 739-0474