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Education Leaders Say Paul Ryan's Election Would Impact Pell Grants



By Catherine Groux
Posted August 24, 2012 11:00 AM

Academic professionals believe Paul Ryan's election could impact federal Pell Grants.
Academic professionals believe Paul Ryan's election could impact federal Pell Grants.
According to a recent Whiteboard Advisers poll of "education insiders," - including current and former U.S Department of Education leaders, Congressional staff and other influential academic professionals - many education leaders do not believe Paul Ryan's selection as the Republican vice presidential candidate will drastically affect academia. However, most insiders agreed that Ryan might have some influence on Pell Grants.

Although most insiders believe Ryan has not focused his campaign around academia, they feel his interest in the higher education budget could affect student funding, particularly Pell Grants.

In his plans for the 2013 federal budget, Ryan said he would leave the maximum amount students can receive under the Pell Grant program at $5,500 per year, with no plans to raise this amount in the future. However, he wants to change eligibility requirements so fewer students would qualify for this form of federal aid. In doing so, he hopes to avoid a "funding cliff" that would mean running out of money to pay for federal Pell Grants by 2014-2014, Ryan's website states.

Some insiders agreed with Ryan's proposal, saying it "would finally force a conversation about fixing the program." However, others disagreed with making an important form of financial aid harder to get, saying it "would be a bad thing for funding levels."

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