Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter

Representing the 1st District of New Hampshire

ICYMI: Shea-Porter, More Than 120 House Democrats Slam Proposed Cuts to Pell Grant Program

July 19, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON –  Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), and 120 House Democrats sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations expressing extreme disappointment in the proposed cuts to the Pell Grant Program in the FY18 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill.

“This proposed cut imperils the affordability of college for low-income students both now and in the future,” the Members wrote. “The Committee on Education and the Workforce is poised to consider a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Without these reserve funds, the ability to raise the maximum Pell Grant award, which currently covers less than a third of the cost of attendance at a four-year public college, or enact other improvements to college affordability will be nearly impossible.”

Last year, a large group of House Democrats successfully pushed the Appropriations Committee to protect the surpluses within the Pell Grant Program to ensure college remains affordable for millions of Americans.

 

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Lowey, Chairman Cole, and Ranking Member DeLauro:

Every American should have access to a meaningful degree at an affordable cost that leads to a good-paying job. Higher education remains the surest equalizer of economic opportunity in America, and the federal government has long recognized that providing access to higher education is in the national interest. Pell Grants – the foundation of federal financial aid for low-income students – are critical to this effort.

We are therefore greatly disappointed with the $3.3 billion cut to the Pell Grant Program proposed in the FY18 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill. If Congress enacts this cut, the federal government will have reduced funding for low-income college students by $4.6 billion over the last two fiscal years. As the House Committee on Appropriations continues to work on its LHHS bill, we strongly oppose any harmful cuts to Pell funding in this year's appropriations vehicle that will make college more expensive for students in future years.

This proposed cut imperils the affordability of college for low-income students both now and in the future. The Committee on Education and the Workforce is poised to consider a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Without these reserve funds, the ability to raise the maximum Pell Grant award, which currently covers less than a third of the cost of attendance at a four-year public college, or enact other improvements to college affordability will be nearly impossible.

As we said in a letter when Pell Grant reserve funds were cut last year, the LHHS appropriations bill should not balance other funding needs on the backs of low-income college students. Making college less affordable for low-income students is not a viable solution to our fiscal problems.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.

 

Issues: