By Christina Strong
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
Low-income students and graduate students may feel a pinch with the president’s plan to eliminate Pell grants for summer school and in-school subsidy loans for graduate students.
The cuts outlined in Obama’s new budget for fiscal year 2012 are being proposed as part of the Pell Grant Protection Act to sustain fall and spring semester Pell grant funding of $5,500 for college students and support Obama’s 2020 higher education goal.
“I have to say the cuts are pretty disappointing. The program is beneficial for going to school. They cut that and you have to get a loan to pay for classes. Who would want to get a loan when you can get a grant,” said Lauren Spain, a junior at Michigan State University.
The proposed budget cuts would disappoint thousands of MSU undergraduate students who attend summer classes. In 2010, Michigan State University awarded $4.8 million to 3,000 students for the summer, said Val Meyers, associate director for the Office of Financial Aid.
Currently, MSU has awarded summer aid to 2,500 students and are still processing applications. The elimination of the summer Pell grant would force more students to take loans.
“They would have to use other resources to pay their bills. Some might end up taking up more loans; some may decide not to go to summer school because they don’t have aid to pay for it. It may just take them longer to graduate or not as fast as if they had went to summer school,” Meyers said.
Eliminating the in-school subsidy loans for graduate students will also add an extra burden to graduate students who can’t afford to pay interest on their loans while they are in school.
“Funding for subsidized loans for graduate students is something that is going to allow more people to actually enter the middle class and sort of to gain more professional training. It’s not going to be something that affects people who are already of the middle class and up,” said Michael Webb, a graduate student at MSU. “I think if you think about the American educational system in terms of the opportunities we think about creating, I think that having at least subsidized loans programs in place is one way for people to actually step up in society.”
MSU students do not need to take a third job just yet. Obama’s proposed budget including other areas of funding cuts in addition to education is currently being debated in Congress.
Students wishing to voice their opinions can write a letter to the President and send it to: The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20500
Do you think Obama’s education cuts are beneficial?