FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 7, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-734-6510
[Washington]- Following today’s Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor-H Appropriations bill, Reid Setzer, Government Affairs Director of Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:
“We are heartened to see the Senate Appropriations Committee engage in a bipartisan appropriations process to ensure funding for vital investments that benefit millions of young adults. The bill increases the maximum Pell Grant award, a critical financial aid source for low- and moderate-income students. The Committee responded to the urging of 70 higher education stakeholders by raising the discretionary Pell Grant award by $100, which will ensure the grant continues to rise to $6,020 next year. The bill also restores Pell Grant eligibility for defrauded borrowers who have had their loans forgiven and for students who attended schools that closed, an important step toward giving defrauded students a second chance at the education they deserve. The bill also continues to implement Year-Round Pell, which will allow nearly one million students to graduate faster and more affordably.
We also salute the Committee for protecting funding for several federal student aid priorities, including Federal Work Study, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, and TRIO. The bill also maintains funding for apprenticeships, and restores funding for the CCAMPIS program, which helps thousands of student-parents afford on-campus child care. It also provides safeguards for student borrowers, by ensuring that the over $1T of existing federal student loans are not serviced by just a single, “too big to fail,” company.
However, despite several positive actions regarding Pell, the bill enacts deeply concerning policy choices that imperil the program going forward. The legislation takes $2.6B from the Pell Grant program, after already removing $1.3B in Fiscal Year 2017. These cuts dramatically heighten the chances of future Pell programmatic shortfalls and remove vital funds that could be used to improve Pell. Additionally, the bill does not re-index the Pell Grant to inflation, a provision that expired this year. This means that the purchasing power of Pell will continue to erode, provided there are not large increases made to the grant each year, a process that is subject to annual budgetary pressures. YI and dozens of other stakeholders will continue to oppose the removal of funding from the Pell Grant program and urge action to prevent future cuts and rectify those cuts already made.
We appreciate the positive steps taken within the bipartisan bill to enhance opportunity for young people, and urge Congressional leadership to continue to work on reducing or eliminating the cuts to Pell through a final FY18 appropriations agreement that raises overall discretionary spending levels.”