Talk About Hypocrisy; George W. Bush and Pell Grants
On Jan. 14th, George W. Bush proudly announced that he would
raise the maximum Pell Grant award by $500. Bush’s plan would increase
the maximum Pell Grant award by $100 each year for the next five years, to
$4,550. He also noted that the increase would keep pace with the “projected”
rise in inflation. Sound good? It’s
not and the fact that Mr. Bush has the audacity to tout this as some sort of great achievement is just one more example of
the ease with which he lies and his lack of accountability.
in the last decade, tuition has been rising at over twice the rate of inflation and continues to
do so, so his proposed increase will, at best, keep pace with half the amount of tuition increases. Additionally, if you look back on his 2000 campaign, you’d see that even after the $500 increase,
which will be in 2009, he still hasn’t kept his promises regarding Pell Grants. On
31, 2000 Bush vowed to increase the maximum Pell Grant for first-year
students to $5,100.
The hypocrisy gets
worse when you take into account recent changes in the formula used to measure a family's ability to pay college costs. Because of the changes, which will save the government $300 million in the 2005-6
academic year, at least 1.3 million students will receive smaller Pell Grants
and 80,000 to 90,000 students who would otherwise be getting some Pell Grant
money will get none.
rules are expected to have a domino effect across almost every type of financial aid, tightening access to billions of dollars
in grants and, in turn, increasing the reliance on loans to pay for college. This,
while the good jobs in manufacturing that used to be available for high school graduates and college dropouts continue to
go abroad, while the service jobs that are replacing them don't offer comparable pay or benefits and the gap between the wages
of high school graduates and college graduates continues to grow.
top things off, not only did Congress drastically cut the number of future Pell Grants to be granted, but it was the pork-loaded
$388 billion omnibus spending bill, which gave the Department of Education go-ahead to "adjust" its formulas for calculating
financial aid. Gosh, that $300 million cut in Pell Grants is almost enough to
cover the roughly $400 million for 1,175 pork projects the Department of Education got in the same
bill, according to watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
After the passage
of the omnibus bill, House Majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said, “I’m very proud of the fact that we held
the line and made Congress make choices and set priorities, because it follows our philosophy.”