Picking Pell’s poison:

Students await Joint Select Committee decisions

By Nick Christian

Staff Reporter

With a plan from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction scheduled to be released this week, students around CNM await what changes will be made to their Pell grants.

Some students outside of the Montoya campus cafeteria were outspoken when told of the news the Pell grant could possibly be taken away for future summer terms.

“I think that’s b.s.,” said Jamie McCormick.

“We wouldn’t be able to go to class during the summer,” echoed Janine Hargrove.

“That would be a big decrease in the whole educational system,” said Kaye Reeves. “There’s not that many people that have their own money to pay for college.”

Both the House of Representatives and Senate have proposed changes to the Pell Grant for FY 2012.

Some of the highlights of the House proposal were: eliminate less-than-half-time students, lower the income amount for automatic zero Estimated Family Contribution to $15,000, and add sources of untaxed income to those that determine their Estimated Family Contribution: child tax credit, welfare benefits, estimated income tax credit, foreign income excluded from federal tax, untaxed social security benefits, and special fuels tax credit.

The proposed changes would cut $4.3 billion from the Pell grant program by removing 554,320 students from the program and lower the student average grant by $240, according to the U.S. department of Education.

The main highlight of the senate proposal would be eliminating the in-school interest free period for all students.

There was no data available regarding how much money would be saved in this proposal.

Students and college administrators around the country are watching the situation carefully as evidenced by websites like studentaidalliance.org. The organization, according to the website, is a coalition of 62 higher education organizations who support financial aid. The website currently has close to 113 thousand signatures of support from people in higher education throughout the country.

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