Administration’s Education Plan Would Put College Within Reach for More Arizona Students

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Arizona PIRG

Today, the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) released a new report documenting how President Obama’s budget proposal makes a significant reinvestment in the Pell Grant program by cutting excessive lender subsidies from the student loan programs and redirecting that money to student aid.

“Getting a college degree is practically a necessity; however, states are cutting public university budgets and grant aid has been stagnant for too long and as a result, students face skyrocketing loan debt upon graduation,” stated Diane E. Brown, Executive Director for Arizona PIRG. “The president’s plan changes the priorities within the student aid programs, putting struggling students and families first.”

The key piece of President Obama’s higher education plan includes increasing the Pell grant maximum from $5,350 to $5,550.  It also makes the Pell grant more reliable, by ensuring that the maximum would increase each year to keep pace with inflation.  Finally, more students would become eligible to receive Pell grant aid under the plan.

To pay for these changes, the president’s proposal cuts excessive bank and lender subsidies from within the student loan programs. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that this cut will result in a savings of $47 billion dollars over five years, with $5 billion being redirected toward students in the first year alone. 

The report calculates the benefit if the full $5 billion went to students in each state. The average Pell Grant award in Arizona would rise by approximately $115. next year. Over 11,000 additional new students in Arizona would receive their first Pell Grant and be able to attend college.