Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Reid and Speaker of the House Boehner introduced separate bills to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling and make accompanying spending cuts. While each of these bills would likely lead to painful cuts to programs that community colleges care about, they both provided for billions of dollars to help shore up the Pell Grant program. These funds would come from the elimination of the in-school interest subsidy for students in graduate and professional programs. This Pell funding is critical.
The road to a final resolution of this issue remains murky. Resistance from within his own party forced Speaker Boehner to cancel a vote on his plan scheduled for Thursday evening. Reports from Capitol Hill indicate that some of this opposition was based on the money included in the bill for Pell Grants. However, the amended version of this bill that the House will vote on later today still includes the Pell Grant funding.
Please contact your representatives and senators TODAY and urge them to support maximum Pell Grant funding in the debt ceiling legislation. This program is vitally important to community college students, and without this funding, it faces disastrous cuts in the FY 2012 appropriations cycle.