Proposed Cuts in Financial Could be Catastrophic
April 5, 2017
Proposed cuts in President Trump’s new budget will affect a third of the Pell Grant and eliminate the Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant program which benefit low-income students at Fresno City College.
The proposed reductions include cutting $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant program and scrapping the a $732 million FSEOG program all together. The cuts can take effect as soon as the 2017-18 school year, according to Mikki Johnson, director of financial aid at FCC.
According to California Student Aid Commission, grants aid low-income students with family income of less than $40,000 annually and help the vast majority of students and their families attend college without having to pay back lots of loans.
Johnson explained that before the proposed cuts, the students with the maximum eligibility for the Pell Grant for 2017-18 school year were set to an increased new total of $5,920. Now with Trump’s proposed budget, this amount is unknown.
Sean Henderson, interim dean of student services said organized student advocacy could be very beneficial to saving the grants.
“At Fresno City College, we disbursed almost $1 million [of the $732 million FSEOG program]” and the loss of this program would affect more than 1,500 students at FCC, Johnson said.
Robert Muniz, a business administration major, who is pursuing a career in mathematical education said he does not currently qualify for financial aid because he has exceeded the maximum time allowed to obtain a degree.
“I want to teach math for high school, so I need the financial aid at Fresno State,” Robert Muniz, who is expected to receive some aid in the fall of 2017 when he transfers to a university, said.
Mr. Muniz said he is relying on the aid he is expecting to receive in the fall to support himself and his family while he finishes school.
“I was pretty upset and frustrated when I heard about it; it [the budget cuts] puts another hurdle for the people who are already trying so hard,” Diana Muniz, a social science major who hopes to be a social worker, said.
She said she returned to school because she got injured on the job and is relying on financial aid to support her family while she completes her program.
“I have a daughter that is supposed to attend FCC next year,” Diane Muniz said. “This is going to affect her.”
The director of financial aid said the president’s budget must go through Congress first, but that the student body should explore what they can do to protect the grants.
“There are lobbyists and advocates that are pushing very hard to preserve these programs,” Johnson said, “to reduce the amount of the cuts.”