Ongoing Threats to Student Aid Funding
On March 2nd, the President signed a stop-gap bill to keep the federal government operating for the next two weeks. Unfortunately, as part of that compromise package, the long-standing LEAP program is eliminated. LEAP provides important seed money for state need-based grant programs. We do not know what cash-strapped states will do in response, but hope they will not use this drop in resources as a rationale for cutting their state need-based grant programs.
The federal budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year beyond mid-March is still up in the air, and student aid is still on the table for more cuts.
Here are some additional resources and ideas from our friends at NAICU.
- We are particularly concerned about SEOG’s future, as well as potential cuts to Pell. What's at stake is described here.
- I hope you also will consider making the case in various public forums, including op-eds, radio call-ins, town hall meetings, and through the activation of your entire campus community -- from trustees to students.
- Students are often the best advocates for the Pell Grant and other student aid programs, so look for opportunities for them to tell their own stories. The proposed Pell Grant cut would impact the most students nationwide, but the elimination of SEOG disproportionately hurts students at private non-profit institutions.
- To assist your students in taking action, direct them to the Student Aid Alliance Action Center. NAICU co-chairs the Student Aid Alliance, created in 1995 as a response to threats to eliminate federal student aid programs. We're currently in the process of updating the Alliance website, but the Action Center is live. Our activities now also include the use of social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Student aid numbers by state and congressional district, are also publicly available on the NAICU website.
It is critically important that we continue to carry the message, to all of Congress on both sides of the aisle, that student aid matters -- to our students, our institutions, our communities, and our nation.