Student Aid Activists
Fr: Ellynne Bannon, State PIRGs' Higher Education Advocate
Dt: August 15, 2002
Call your Members of Congress today and urge them to support
student aid increases ***
next few weeks the new school year will commence-millions
of college students will start classes, and receive the financial
aid that makes it possible for them to attend college. Unfortunately,
because of what may be the smallest increase in student aid
funding in years, thousands of students could be left behind.
rising costs, state budgets cuts and the failure of federal
financial aid to keep pace, many students and their families
struggle to finance a college education. Increasingly students
are taking on high debt levels-the typical student now graduates
with almost $17,000 in federal education loan debt-and working
long hours-nearly half of all full-time students work 25 or
more hours a week-to help pay for college. Students from low-income
families struggle even more - the typical Pell Grant recipient
graduates with almost $19,000 in loan debt.
these problems, the FY 2003 budget may include the smallest
increase in student aid in years, as Congress has made keeping
a strict budget and K-12 funding top priorities.
the Senate appropriations committee passed their FY 2003 spending
bill, which only provided only a $100 increase for the Pell
Grant maximum, raising it to $4,100, a $5.5 million increase
for LEAP state grants, The bill left other key student aid
programs such as the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants
(SEOG), Federal Work Study and Perkins loans capital funded
at last year's levels.
may be forced to vote on the President's levels for student
aid -- $4,000 Pell Grant maximum, level funding for the other
programs, and the elimination of the LEAP state grant program.
funding proposals from President Bush and the Senate appropriators
do not provide enough support for the millions of students
who rely on federal student aid to help them pay for college.
There are five good reasons to increase student aid this year:
is up -- more needy students are prepared for college than
2. Enrollment is up -- when the economy slumps, workers go
back to college to retrain
3. Breadwinners have lost their jobs -- some students need
additional, unanticipated assistance
4. State budgets are down -- states are cutting their student
5. It's the right thing to do! When the federal government
invests in student aid, it invests in the nation's future.
2003, The State PIRGs' Higher Education Project, and the United
States Student Association, as part of the Student Aid Alliance
support the following funding levels:
Pell Grant maximum should be increased by $500, to $4,500;
should be increased by $150 million, to $875 million;
state grants should be increased by $33 million, to $100
Work Study should be increased by $150 million, to $1.161
Loans should be increased by $40 million, to $140 million,
and Perkins cancellations should be increased by $32 million,
to $100 million; and;
programs should be increased by $200 million, to $1 billion.
Call your Senators and Representatives today and urge them
to support a $500 increase in the maximum Pell Grant, an increase
in the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants by $150
million; an increase in the Leveraging Educational Assistance
Partnership by $33 million; and increases to other key student
switchboard: (202) 224-3121
House switchboard: (202) 225-3121
You can also call your Senators and Members of Congress by
using the student aid hotline: 1 (800) 574-4AID.
information on student aid programs visit: http://www.pirg.org/highered