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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

July 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Cutting degrees

A Republican proposal to cut $5.7 million in Pell Grants will leave college students across the country struggling to earn a degree.

The proposal will include a 15 percent cut to the maximum amount of Pell Grant money a student can receive. The cut will decrease the maximum, $5,500, by $845. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, if the proposal is passed, 1.7 million students will be ineligible for Pell Grants, awards given to middle- and low-income students. About 22 percent of students at Ithaca College receive these grants.

Cutting Pell Grants will have serious repercussions on the American higher education system. More students will be entering the workforce without a college degree. At institutions across the country — especially elite, private colleges — there will be less diversity if lower-income and minority students are not represented. Those that will attend college without Pell Grants may find themselves in more student debt after graduation.

During the economic downturn, there need to be cuts in the budget. But cuts need to be the kind that won’t hurt the future of our country.

In his State of the Union address in January, President Barack Obama said education was going to be on the top of the country’s agenda — “our generation’s Sputnik moment,” he said. But if the Republican proposal is passed and fewer Americans are able to attend college, then some won’t have a future in education.

The Ithacan can be reached at ithacan@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @IthacanOnline