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Students Respond to the Omnibus Package: This Spending Bill Invests in Our Education

Later today, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on an omnibus spending package to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. If passed, the bill would reinvest in programs that help young people afford their education and navigate the diverse needs of modern day students.

For instance, the spending bill would:

  • Boost the maximum Pell Grant by $175 per student, putting more money in the pockets of low-income students who need help affording their education.
  • Increase funding to the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program by $35 million – a 233% increase -for on-campus child care for students with children.
  • Increase Federal Work Study programs by $140 million, giving students more opportunity to gain valuable skills and work experience while helping pay for school.

You can see more of YI’s take on this budget package in our statement, but hearing from students is even more important. Below, students from around the country share how these programs have positively impacted them and helped them pursue their education.

CCAMPIS: would be increased by $35 million
Estephany Rodriguez, Mount Wachusett Community College

Growing up in the inner city and barely escaping poverty, college always seemed unattainable to someone with limited means like myself. That was a driving factor in my decision to enlist in the military, but after I got injured and medically discharged, I knew I had to go to college. As a student parent, it seemed impossible until I learned about Mount Wachusett Community College’s CCAMPIS program, which allowed me to attend school and take advantage of affordable child care on campus. But it’s not just the financial help CCAMPIS affords, it’s the personal and academic support, too. The program has allowed me to attend office hours to keep my grades up and secure a flexible class schedule that works for my family, keeping me on track toward graduating on-time. I would like nothing more than to see the program expanded to help more parents who are trying to earn an education for themselves and their families.

Federal Work Study: would be increased by $140 million
Angel Gonzalez, University of Denver

I am a Mexican-American studying international security and economics. College is important to me, as it is my only hope for upward mobility. My parents, combined, make 20 thousand dollars a year, therefore, the burden of college cost falls solely on me. Currently I work three jobs while taking 16 credit hours in order pay for college.  At first I was not awarded work study, despite my desperate economic need. On the first day or orientation, I went to the financial aid office with my parents, and cried to my adviser. Only then, was I awarded work study. I was fortunate to get hired at my schools career center, considering there are not many opportunities. Here, I worked as a customer service representative, posting career opportunities, and scheduling advising appointment.

Pell Grants: maximum grant would be increased by $175
Diana Contreras, University of Illinois – Springfield

Growing up in a low -income, single-parent household, it was always assumed I’d never be able to get to college. But I was determined, I worked hard in high school, and I managed to get into a great university. Once I got in, I was worried about the cost, but I was lucky to receive a Pell grant along with other forms of financial aid. For me, this truly made the difference between enrolling as a freshman and staying back home to work a minimum-wage job. The Pell grant has allowed me to attend school,but  it covers only about a fourth of the true cost of my college experience, including housing, food, books, and everything else a student needs to be successful. I understand that students must contribute their share towards the cost of an education, but I am seriously concerned about the debt I have taken on.