Recently, Congress voted to reduce funding for the Pell Grant by several billion dollars, which means college students will no longer be able to receive the grant for the summer 2012 semester.
This decision has adversely affected my plans to take summer classes, and I’m sure it has done the same for many other Ferris students who relied on the Pell Grant as their main source of funding for the summer semester.
Two weeks ago I received an email from the financial aid office telling me that Congress had eliminated the Pell Grant for the summer semester in order to keep it funded at the current rate of $5,550, which is $2,775 for the fall and spring semester.
The email also stated that those who are losing the Pell Grant for summer 2012 should plan accordingly with the financial aid office for funding in the summer. But what is else is there besides more loans if that grant was the top source of funding?
If, in fact, I want any form of aid for the summer semester, I would have to enroll less than full time this semester and next semester. I’m a full time student working on two Bachelor’s degrees. I will not do less than full time. I planned on doing full time summer classes at Ferris this summer, but that will no longer be the case, it looks like.
I’m not entirely sure how the government expects students to finish college, let alone afford it, when funding for higher education is being slashed. It does not make sense that we hear officials in congress repeating how important it is to obtain a college education when it’s becoming less affordable by the year.
At $348 per credit hour, there is a slim chance that I can take classes up here this summer. I am trying to stay on track in both of my programs so I can graduate on time. However, with all of these funding cuts, I highly doubt that will be the case.
I rely on funding from the government and my pocket to pay for my education. I have loans that I will be paying back years after I’ve graduated, and I certainly will not be the only one up to my eyeballs in debt. A plethora of Ferris graduates already are. The average debt of Ferris 2009 graduates is $34,767.
I am grateful that I have the opportunity to receive a college education — don’t get me wrong. It’s just aggravating as it becomes more tedious to pay for my education as tuition goes up and funding goes down.
The fact that the double Pell Grant was eliminated worries me; it makes me wonder if the current rate of the grant is going to be cut in the future. I am concerned and I know many other Ferris students are too. If not, they should be.
This may be a sign of what is to come. Soon, a majority of students won’t be able to afford attending a four-year institution. Your children and my children will most likely be paying double what we pay now.
I am highly concerned about more than just slashed funding for the summer semester – what is it going to be like in a year or two from now? Will Pell Grants and other sources of government funding become a thing of the past one day? Will it just be loans, loans and more loans?
I hope Congress gets its act together and starts doing what’s right in terms of higher education. Enough is enough with the cuts to higher education.