Many student aid advocates and pundits have panned the House Budget Committee’s loosely outlined funding plan for Pell Grants. The plan was part of the fiscal year 2013 budget resolution (aka the “Ryan Budget”) that the House passed a few weeks back. Critics say it would make deep cuts to Pell Grants and kick a million students out of the aid program. Indeed, the House Republican proposal would make some changes to the program to permanently address a $7 billion funding cliff that the program will face in 2014. But where were these critics when President Obama outlined his Pell Grant funding proposal earlier this year?
The president’s proposal included only a one-year fix for the massive $7 billion Pell Grant funding cliff. After the one-year fix, the president’s budget simply assumes that an extra $7 billion will materialize in the annual appropriation for Pell Grants each year. But this extra funding must be offset by $7 billion in cuts to other programs funded with annual appropriations, which the president’s budget doesn’t specify.
Do student aid advocates really believe the president’s “let’s not make tough decisions now; we’ll find an extra $7 billion later” is the better proposal?
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