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Pell Grants In Jeopardy

Although the budget deal reached by Congress to avoid a government shutdown preserved Pell Grants for the current fiscal year, the existing program is still in jeopardy.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a budget resolution to roll back the maximum Pell Grant award to 2008 levels for 2012-2013. This could means hundreds of dollars less for the neediest of students.

Although the resolution is non-binding and there is still more committee action before such an action might be taken, any downward changes to Pell Grant funding would have an especially profound effect on the Old Dominion community. Some 24 percent of Old Dominion students are Pell-eligible. For many of them, a change would very likely mean the difference between being able to stay in school and not.

Two student groups at ODU - the Student Government Association and the Government Relations Student Advisory Board - have begun letter writing campaigns against cuts to the program. I applaud their proactive approach and concern for their fellow students.

While I think we all recognize the need to reduce our national deficit, it would be counterproductive to make cuts that affect the future success of our knowledge-based economy.

This article was posted on: April 19, 2011

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.