Today, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D -- Queens and Brooklyn) announced that more than 67,000 Queens students will receive $281 million in Pell Grants this year to help cover the rising costs of a college education.
Federal Pell Grants provide need-based assistance to low-income students to help promote access to college and postsecondary education. This year, students across the nation are eligible to receive up to $5,550 each in Pell Grants, which are not required to be repaid.
In Queens alone, over 67,000 students will receive more than $281 million in aid -- with an average grant of $4,136 per student. The announcement, however, comes in the midst of attempts by Congressional Republicans to cut the important grant by $1 billion over the next ten years in Queens.
Republicans in Congress, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, are proposing to reduce the maximum Pell Grant award by $819 per student beginning next year. If successful, the maximum Pell Grant will be slashed to $4,731 -- a reduction of more than 14 percent. With the cost of higher education rising every year, the GOP proposal would devastate a vital lifeline for students in the borough.
"During a time when colleges are raising tuition, Pell Grants are an important tool in helping students get the education they deserve and the education they need to succeed in the 21st century workplace," Weiner said. "$281 million in Pell Grants for Queens is great news, but it's also a reminder of what's at stake next year if the draconian budget being pushed by Republicans actually passes."