Yesterday, Suffolk County Community College's (SCCC) Board of Trustees adopted a resolution urging Congress to reject the funding cuts and eligibility reductions for federal Pell Grants in the Paul Ryan Budget passed by House Republicans in April. Congressman Tim Bishop hailed the Board's vote as additional local support for his campaign to protect low-income students from devastating aid cuts.
In May, Bishop joined Stony Brook University administrators and students at SBU's Student Activities Center to highlight the importance of federal student aid programs for students attending college in New York's First Congressional District and call for a sustained federal commitment to helping students achieve their dreams through higher education. A video of the Stony Brook University event is available on Congressman Bishop's YouTube page, including testimonials from four SBU students about their reliance on student aid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_9nYW1u1yM&feature=plcp
"Higher education is a gateway to opportunity, but that path would be closed to many students in Eastern Suffolk under the partisan Paul Ryan Budget passed by the House GOP," said Congressman Tim Bishop. "Supporting students should be a bipartisan issue, and I join SCCC's Board in condemning these proposed cuts to America's economic competitiveness and a 21st Century workforce."
Pell Grants are the primary federal higher education grant program, and over 18,000 students attending college in the First Congressional District receive Pell Grant aid totaling nearly $70 million annually. In the most recent academic year, nearly 9,000 SCCC students--approximately one-third of the student body--received Pell Grant aid, which does not need to be repaid, unlike federal student loans.
The Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution passed by Republicans in the House, known as the "Paul Ryan Budget" for Chairman of the Budget Committee Paul Ryan (R-WI), reduces the maximum award for Pell Grants and changes eligibility requirements for the program, resulting in a cut of at least $104 billion to Pell Grants over the next decade, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.