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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Ryan And Higher Education

Ryan Told Student He Should Work Three Jobs Instead Of Relying On Federal Student Loans

Philadelphia Inquirer: Ryan Told A Student That He Should Work Three Jobs In College Instead Of Relying On Grants. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial, “It should be remembered that Ryan, a frequent critic of Pell Grants, is the same congressman who suggested to a college student in October that instead of relying on grants he should do what Ryan did – work three jobs to pay for college. The congressman is to be congratulated on his work ethic, but if he believes it is a model for success in college for everyone, he is sorely mistaken.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, Editorial, 2/21/12]

The Ryan Plan Would Cut Pell Grants, Eliminating 400,000 students From The Program

Under The Ryan Plan, One Million Students Would Lose Pell Grants Over The Next Decade. According to the Huffington Post, “More than 1 million students would lose Pell grants entirely over the next 10 years under Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, according to an analysis that the national reform organization Education Trust provided to The Huffington Post. And by the looks of it, the Ryan budget, which is slated to hit the House floor this week, would hit the poorest kids hardest. […] The plan proposed by Ryan (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Budget Committee, would chop away at Pell grant eligibility, thereby reducing total Pell grants by about $170 billion over the next decade; allow the interest rate for federally subsidized Stafford loans to double; end student loan interest subsidies for those still in school; and make Pell spending discretionary — instead of mandatory — allowing further cuts down the line. Pell grants, the largest source of federal financial aid, currently help more than 9 million students to afford college. Following last year’s budget standoffs, next year’s maximum Pell grant of $5,645 will cover just one-third of the average cost of college — the smallest share ever.” [Huffington Post, 3/27/12]

Ryan’s Budget Plan Slashed Pell Grants. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “The Ryan budget reportedly also cuts SNAP (that is, food stamp) benefits by $133 billion over ten years and slices Pell Grants. The former would likely increase hunger and hardship among poor children, while the latter would likely reduce opportunities for promising students from low-income backgrounds to attend college.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/12]

The Education Trust Estimated 400,000 Students Would Lose Pell Grants Under Ryan Plan. According to The Sun Chronicle, “As student debt soars, the U.S. House is looking to cut college financial aid in a way that critics contend will make it even harder for middle class families to afford higher education. The House has passed a budget plan authored by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, that slashes Pell Grants for low-income families and doubles the interest rate on unsubsidized Stafford Loans. ‘This will make things substantially more difficult’ for students trying to pay for college, said Kate Tromble with The Education Trust. Tromble said the Pell Grants had enough money in its program to cover the next two years, so there was no reason for the House to cut the grants. Grants are considered the most helpful form of financial aid based on need because they do not have to be paid back. ‘This money makes the difference to many families between going to school and not going to school,’ she said. She said an estimated 400,000 students will lose their grants next year, while the amount of aid will be lowered for others. Over the next 10 years an estimated $200 billion would be cut from the grant program, leaving about one million students without the aid.” [The Sun Chronicle, 4/9/12]

The Ryan Plan Reduced The Amount Awarded For Pell Grants And Disqualified Part-Time Students. According to The Sun Chronicle, “The maximum grant would be reduced immediately to $5,550, the lowest level as a percentage of the tuition in the history of the program. Part-time students -often the poorest of college students – would no longer be eligible for the aid.” [The Sun Chronicle, 4/9/12]

The Ryan Plan Would Double Interest On Student Loans

Ryan’s Plan Doubled The Interest Rate On Student Loans And Required Interest Be Paid While The Student Was In College. According to The Sun Chronicle, “The budget would also double the interest rate charged on loans to 6.8 percent, adding to a debt burden that has reached record highs. In another change, interest on the loans would have to be paid while the student is in college, rather than after graduation… Ryan said the changes are part of an effort to get the nation’s budget deficit and debt under control. The national debt is leaving an unfair burden on future generations, he said. He said spending increases for college aid proposed by President Barack Obama are unaffordable.” [The Sun Chronicle, 4/9/12]

Ryan Wanted Move Away From Financial Aid Grants To Student Loans. According to The Sun Chronicle, “During a recent town meeting in his district, Ryan said the government should move away from grants to loans. Ryan noted that when he was young, he worked three jobs to pay back his college loans. Ryan also contends that cutting federal aid will force colleges to lower their tuition. But, U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Worcester, said the budget hurts poor and working class families the most, while protecting tax breaks for special interests and the rich. He said economists keep saying that America needs a well-educated work force to meet the challenges of the future, but the Ryan budget makes it more difficult for young people to go to college. ‘It defies logic,’ he said.” [The Sun Chronicle, 4/9/12]

Ryan Opposed Student Loan Relief

Ryan Opposed The College Student Relief Act That Cut Interest Rates On Student Loans For Undergraduates. In 2007, Ryan voted against cutting the interest rate on subsidized student loans for undergraduates in half over five years – cutting the interest rate from 6.8% today to 3.4% by 2011 – helping 5.5 million students. Once fully phased in, this bill would save the typical borrower, with $13,800 in subsidized federal student loan debt, approximately $4,400 over the life of their loans. The bill passed 356-71. [Roll Call 32, H 5, 01/17/2007]

Ryan Opposed Cutting Student Loan Interest Rates, Reversing Cuts To Student Aid. In 2006, Ryan voted against a Democratic alternative to the higher education authorization bill that would have cut student loan interest rates in half (from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent) for one year for those most in need. Students taking out a subsidized loan during that year would be able to lock in the low fixed interest rate for the life of their loans, thereby saving thousands of dollars in interest costs. The average college student graduates from college with $18,000 of debt. The measure would have also reversed previously enacted cuts to student loan programs. The measure was defeated 200-220 [Roll Call 80, H 609, 03/30/2006; New York Times, 3/31/06; Committee on Education and Workforce release, 3/30/06]

Ryan Supported Cutting $12.7 Billion From Student Loan Funding. In 2006, Ryan voted in favor of the conference agreement to cut mandatory spending programs by $39.7 billion over the following five years. Due to the billions of dollars in tax cuts passed separately, the budget reconciliation package would increase the deficit. The measure cut $12.7 billion from student loan programs – the largest single cut in history. The bill also put billions of dollars in student aid at risk by cutting all of the critical funds ($2.2 billion) used to carry out and administer the student aid programs. The measure cut $2.6 billion from programs serving single-parent families, foster children and low-income elderly and disabled people. The cuts included $1.5 billion from child support enforcement, $343 million from foster care programs and $732 million from Supplemental Security Income for the elderly. The bill reduced the amount of direct payments available to farmers in advance to 40% in 2006 and 22% in 2007 and extended the Milk Income Loss Contract through 2007, at a cost of $998 million. The bill canceled funds, for a total cut of $1 billion over five years, for several programs including the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food systems. Additionally, the bill cut important farm bill conservation programs by $934 million over five years. The measure did not touch a $5 billion HMO slush fund established by the 2003 Medicare bill, and after intense lobbying from the health insurance industry, the budget saved HMOs $22 billion dollars. The bill passed 216-214. [Roll Call 4, S 653, 02/01/2006; CQ Today, 2/1/06; Washington Post, 2/2/06]

Ryan Opposed Student Loan Debt Forgiveness For Public Sector Workers And Redirecting Subsidies From Student Lending Firms To Students. In 2007, Ryan voted against legislation that provided the largest increase in student aid since the G.I. Bill. The conference report of the bill cut government subsidies to student loan firms by about $20 billion and redirected most of the money to aid for students and college graduates. It also included $750 million in federal budget deficit reduction. The maximum Pell grant award would be increased by $490 in 2008 and by $1,090 over five years. It also provided debt forgiveness to certain public-sector workers after 10 years of service, and capped student loan repayments at 15 percent of discretionary income. The bill passed 292-97 [Roll Call 864, H 2669, 09/07/2007]