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Student campaign, "Grant Aid Now!", targets federal student aid programs.
Author: Jessica Lyness Email: aspsu@pdx.edu Phone: 503.913.3882
Posted: April 18, 2006

What do we want? GRANT AID! When do we want it? NOW!

On March 7, this was the message of a thousand students across the country, united to lobby Congress on behalf of higher education. After a four day conference on issues facing students and learning about the devastating effects of the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, members of student government met with Senators and Representatives from Oregon to ask for their support.

On February 6, 2006, the President released his FY 2007 budget, leaving higher education behind. The budget proposes to completely eliminate several programs that are essential to providing greater access to higher education. An example is the LEAP program, which is crucial for sustaining many state-based financial aid packages. The budget also proposes to end GEAR UP despite its significant impact on making college a reality for low-income middle and high school students. Two TRIO programs are eliminated; Talent Search and Upward Bound, which currently serve over 455,000 students. The Thurgood Marshall program is also terminated in the budget, which would decrease funding available to low-income law students.

The President’s budget maintains the maximum Pell Grant award at $4,050, making this the 5th consecutive year that the Pell Grant has been level-funded. In FY 2006 the Pell Grant program ran a surplus of $273 million. The President refused to use this surplus in order to increase the maximum Pell Grant award. Instead, the budget also allocates less money to the overall Pell Grant program. These proposals would make college less affordable for millions of students. USSA strongly believes that creating access to higher education involves all of these programs and students need congress to make higher education the priority for FY 2007.

Students are running USSA’s national campaign “Grant Aid Now!” on campuses to mobilize the student voice around our funding requests for the appropriations process. Students want Congress to do better than the President’s budget for education. USSA is working in coalition with the Student Aid Alliance and the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to gain greater funding for federal student aid programs, which in return, will create access for students across the country. Please Make Education a Priority in the FY 2007 Appropriations Process.

If you would like to be a part of student government and help out with this campaign, contact us today at aspsu@pdx.edu or 503.725.3454. The ASPSU office is located in Smith