Budget plan proposes cuts to Pell Grants

Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan heads to the Senate, after it passed in the House of Representatives last week, 228-191.

The $3.5 trillion Republican budget looks to cut research grants and Pell Grants for low-income college students, as part of a plan to limit discretionary funds. The plan also proposes tax cuts funded by changes in Medicare.


“If the Ryan Republican budget is made a reality and the radical discretionary cuts fall across the board, by 2014, more than 9 million students would see their Pell Grants fall by as much as $1,100, and about 900,000 would lose their grants altogether,” according to a statement by the White House press secretary.

Upon passage, the Wisconsin representative’s budget plan would reduce the number of slots in the Head Start education program available per year, and the amount of federal grants toward medical research and science program, according to the statement.

John Connelly, Rutgers University Student Assembly vice president, said the budget is a step in the wrong direction.

“[Ryan] claimed tuition aid increases tuition price, but to say that is to wager the future on what may bring tuition down,” said Connelly, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “At a state university like Rutgers, a huge population is on federal and financial aid.”

Robert Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, said in a statement that college education is pricey and the way to solve the problem is not cutting student loan programs.

“Today every element of the American dream — a good education and affordable college for the kids, a secure retirement, health care for the family — is growing out of reach for more and more Americans. If adopted, the Republican budget plan would not save the Dream, it would crush it,” Borosage said in the statement.

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., said in a statement that the proposal to make the budget would put the nation on a path of fiscal responsibility.

“Congress must act to strengthen this nation,” Buerkle said. “This is accomplished when we stop spending money we do not have and when we improve the social safety nets so that they remain viable for our children and our grandchildren. We must be vigilant in correcting current mistakes in our budget.”

The budget also plans to reduce clean energy programs would be cut by about 20 percent, according to the statement.

Annabel Pollioni, Rutgers-New Brunswick Campus Organizer of the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, said this would not damage the green initiative but the implementation of it.

“People are still going to care about the environment,” Pollioni said.

State funding has decreased over the past few years for environmental initiatives decreased, she said.

This budget may also have an impact on the upcoming election with GOP candidate Mitt Romney supporting the budget.

“The House budget and my own plan share the same path forward: pro-growth tax cuts, getting federal spending under control and strengthening entitlement programs for future generations,” Romney said in a statement.

GOP candidate Ron Paul released a statement stating the House Republican leadership budget plan does not go far enough to address the nation’s fiscal problems.

“If Republicans really want to win in November, they will have to draw a clear distinction between themselves and [President Barack] Obama’s disastrous agenda. And producing a budget that does not seriously address our nation’s debt crisis will not distinguish them at all in the eyes of the American people,” Paul said.

Obama has rebutted this proposed budget stating the budget favors oil companies and Wall Street hedge fund managers, according to a White House statement.

“We need to grow our economy and bring economic security back to the middle class and seniors,” according to the statement. “Any serious attempt at tackling our deficits must be balanced, fair and demand shared responsibility. The Ryan Republican budget clearly fails that test.”

Connelly said he thinks the budget and the candidate’s stances on them will affect them in the upcoming election.

“A huge thing with Obama is that he has been students our best advocate whether it’s been for the best or worst, it depends on who you ask,” Connelly said.