Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sequester Threatens $148 Million in Financial Aid

Last Friday as colleges were preparing 2013-14 financial aid awards the sequester hit, threatening $148,000,000 in federal work study and grants.  That means more than 21,000 students in the 10 worst hit states alone will lose campus jobs that help pay for their studies and keep student loan debt manageable.

To be clear, this is not free money. These are low-wage campus jobs for which students must apply, interview, and be selected.  The federal funds merely supplement a college's wage costs, allowing a college to offer more positions that it could otherwise afford.

Federal grants are also at risk.  For example, while Pell grants are exempt from the sequester, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) which target some of the poorest students are on the chopping block.  See a state-by-state breakdown at Diverse Issues in Higher Ed.

If you're affected by these cuts, don't give up hope!  Over the next few weeks I'll be posting ideas to help you bridge the gap.  As always I welcome your questions and comments.

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