Think financial aid is scarce for college students now? Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse. The Republicans in the House of Representatives have recently proposed legislation that would cut millions of dollars from financial aid for college students. The Pell Grant would substantially be affected; if this legislation was passed, it would cut 15 percent, $845, of the current maximum amount of $5,550. If this proposal was passed, 1.7 million students would be ineligible for Pell Grants. One major problem is that low-income college students around the entire country rely on Pell Grants to pay their tuition.
Throughout my entire undergraduate career, I have relied on financial aid to continue my studies. I am from a low-income housing project in Connecticut and I would consider myself a member of the working class. My mother and father never married; thus, I relied mostly on my mother’s income, especially when filling out financial aid forms. While my mother worked hard, she never brought home substantial income; thus, college always seemed like a goal that I may never achieve, although I dreamed about going to college since I was a young girl.
Thankfully, I was able to receive a large amount of financial aid from my undergraduate institution, which costs about $40,000 per year. My financial aid package has included the Pell Grant every year since I started college. All of the financial aid awards I received reduced the amount of money my family had to pay out of pocket for my fees, which allowed me to continue my studies without having to worry about obtaining extra money to pay for school.
When President Obama increased the maximum amount of the Pell Grant to $5, 550, I was ecstatic; because of this increase, I was able to save more money without worrying about taking out extra loans or trying to save up to finish my degree. The increase in the maximum amount of the Pell Grant substantially helped me get through college and reduced the amount of loans I have received, which therefore reduces the amount of debt I will have accumulated when I have finished college.
If the House passes this proposal, I will have no choice but to take out more loans, which will increase the amount of debt I will have to repay. I have not had many opportunities to receive outside scholarships because I am coming to the end of my undergraduate career, and I unfortunately cannot turn to my family for financial support because my mother is going through financial hardships due to illness. How am I supposed to continue paying $40,000 a year for school without these extra funds? What will I do if I become ineligible to receive the Pell Grant in the future?
Without these funds, I really do not know how I will pay for tuition. The Pell Grant is a large part of my financial aid package, and without it my decision to come back to school will undoubtedly be affected because of financial reasons. I am so close to earning my degree and now I have to worry about getting enough financial aid to even consider coming back to school to finish. The House needs to seriously think about the millions of students this decision will affect, and the barrier this proposal will create to accessing a quality education.
Kelly Field, “Washington trims Pell Grants: How will students pay fall tuition? – CSMonitor.com” The Christian Science Monitor