Proposed Pell Grant cuts $3 million from students

Changes in Pell Grants remain uncertain with President Barack Obama and the House of Representatives still disputing the details of the proposal.

Obama’s plan would not reduce Pell grants, but would cut summer funding while the House plan would cut Pell Grant funding at Oswego State by a projected $3 million, said Financial Aid director Mark Humbert.

"Obama’s plan would hurt ambitious students and the House plan would hurt the neediest," Humbert said.

Currently at Oswego State about 3,000 students, or 40 percent of undergraduates, receive Pell Grants.

The reductions proposed by the House would reduce the total amount that students can receive from Pell Grants by $850. Humbert did not believe that students would continue to see more drastic cuts after this year, but rather see a leveling off when Pell Grant funding reached its previous levels of funding.

The Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program is facing a proposal to be eliminated. SEOG helps students with the most need, and would be a $200,000 reduction for 400 students. Federal Work Study is not facing reductions by either current proposal.

Students will not know which increases to expect until the federal and New York state budgets are passed.

Oswego State tuition and the limits Oswego can charge for college fees, is decided by the state legislature, excluding the Student Association fee which S.A. sets, Humbert said.

The federal budget was supposed to have been passed by March 4, however a two-week extension has changed the date to March 18 to avoid government shutdown.

Humbert said student’s abilities to afford college will likely come down to borrowing from loans. He urged students to utilize the financial aid office for financial help as well as to actively participate in the political process to make their voices heard about college funding.