Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: Romney-Ryan Plan Slashes Pell Grants by More Than $15 Billion
Press Release

RELEASE: Romney-Ryan Plan Slashes Pell Grants by More Than $15 Billion

Republican Proposal Would Put College out of Reach for Low-Income Students

Read the analysis.

Washington, D.C. — Today, as many college students return to campus concerned about the rising cost of tuition, a new analysis released by the Center for American Progress Action Fund details the ways in which a Romney-Ryan administration would negatively affect low-income students who rely on federal aid to get a higher education degree.

The nation’s premier financial aid program for low-income college students, the Pell Grant program, provides as much as $5,500 to a student to pay for tuition and expenses during the 2012-13 school year. Without Pell Grants, many low-income students would lose their chance to acquire a college education, improve their earnings, and reach their full potential.

But in his controversial budget plan endorsed by Gov. Romney, Rep. Ryan specifically targets the Pell Grant program for massive budget cuts. As part of CAP Action’sRomney U” series, the analysis released today shows that the Romney-Ryan plan would slash more than $15 billion of mandatory and discretionary funding from the Pell Grant program beginning next year, resulting in a 42 percent cut to Pell Grants.

The impact of Rep. Ryan’s cuts to the Pell Grant program would be devastating, including:

  • Eliminating Pell Grants for more than 1 million students
  • Reducing remaining Pell Grants by $1,500 per year
  • Adding thousands of dollars in loan debt to low-income college students and their families

Earlier this year, Gov. Romney advised cash-strapped students to “borrow money if you have to from your parents.” He followed up this recommendation by recounting a story about a friend who borrowed $20,000 from his parents at a low interest rate. This advice would be obviously inapplicable to those students suffering from cuts to the Pell Grant program. Pell Grants, after all, are provided to students from low-income families—the type of families who probably do not have $2,000, much less $20,000, to loan to their children for college.

“As we’ve said on multiple occasions, the best way to reduce the cost of the Pell Grant program is to rebuild our economy—and making sure that it works for everyone,” writes Stephen Steigleder, Policy Analyst at CAP Action and author of the analysis. “Boosting family incomes will reduce the need for Pell Grants, and lowering the unemployment rate will reduce the number of adult workers exiting the labor market to return to college.”

Read the analysis: The Ryan Budget’s Pell Grant Cuts Put College Out of Reach for Low-Income Students by Stephen Steigleder

To speak to a CAP Action expert about this topic, please contact Katie Peters at [email protected].