Friday, February 04, 2005
- "And we will make it easier for Americans to afford a college education, by increasing the size of Pell Grants.
-George W. Bush
Like so many other things George tells us, it sounds good on the surface. However, when you really examine it closely, you discover it's there's more than meets the eye.
- Bush would raise the maximum Pell Grant for students from $4,050 to $4,550 over five years, or $100 a year. Along with other changes, Bush's financial aid plan would cost about $28 billion over 10 years.
Wow! A hundred dollars? I've spent that on a single book. Thanks George! That'll come in handy. Hell, that's like an extra $8.33 a month! And how is he going to pay for all this? By screwing the same people he claims he's going to help.
- To help pay for it, Bush would shrink subsidies the government pays banks to encourage them to make low-interest loans, and to the agencies that insure the loans for the lenders, education department officials said.
Bush would also phase out Perkins loans, 673,000 of which were made to graduate and undergraduate students last year. Officials said the plan would save $6 billion over 10 years.
When I was an undergrad, I went to an in-state University where tuition ran about $3,500 a semester. By splitting the new maximum Pell Grant amount over five years, I would have received about $455 per semester. That still leaves me with a $3,000 balance. Like most students who qualify for a Pell Grant, I probably can't afford to pay that out of my pocket, so I go to the bank to get a loan. Unfortunately, the Bush administration has reduced the subsidies that encourage banks to offer low-interest loans to students and I can't afford the higher interest rates. Lucky for me, I can go to my school's financial aid office and apply for a Perkins loan. Oops! Bush is proposing that we cut those too. Through the Perkins Loan I would have been able to borrow up to $4,000 a year through my school's financial aid office. So much for that. Once again, Thanks George!
Anytime George Bush promises something, you can bet that someone is getting screwed someplace. In this case, it's millions of graduate and undergraduate students that were once able to receive a lot more financial assistance for college. Notice he didn't bring that up in his speech. It must have slipped his mind.