Pell Grants under fire: Welfare or way to boost college graduates?

On the issue of college affordability — which arose in an earlier blog this week — there is mounting concern over proposed congressional cuts to Pell Grants, the nation’s largest financial aid program for college students and the most costly. Pell Grants are expected to cost nearly $40 billion for next year.

Republicans in Congress want to slash the amount of the awards or the number of eligible recipients. The budget passed by the House cuts maximum grant by 45 percent and ousts about 1.5 million students from the eligibility rolls.

Advocates counter that Pell Grants are already failing to keep up with actual college costs. Thirty years ago, the maximum Pell award covered about three-fourths of the college costs. Now it covers only about one-third. The need-based grants — which are not repaid  –  help 10 million low-income students pay for college.  The amount awarded to a student each year is based on need and school costs, but is never more than $5,550, the current cap.

Reading about the Pell debate, it’s interesting to see how it resembles the Georgia debate on cutting the HOPE Scholarship. Except no one compared HOPE to welfare. (I think the term that posters preferred on Get Schooled was “entitlement.”)

In a radio interview in the spring with Blog Talk Radio, U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, likened Pell Grants to “welfare.”

He said: “So you can go to college on Pell Grants — maybe I should not be telling anybody this because it’s turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century. You can go to school, collect your Pell Grants, get food stamps, low-income energy assistance, section 8 housing, and all of a sudden we find ourselves subsidizing people that don’t have to graduate from college. And there ought to be some kind of commitment and endgame.”

(As you might expect, Rehberg backpedaled later, saying, “I’m not suggesting that college students are welfare recipients.”)

Under the proposed cuts and changes to Pell, the average Pell Grant award to Georgia students would fall from $3,853 to $2,018, and 42,722 (out of 321,596) students in the state would no longer be eligible for a grant at all, according to Education Trust.

In an effort to rouse support for protecting the grants, Ed Trust sent out an information packet on Pell Grants:

– According to the most recent available data, low-income families already spend approximately 72 percent of their family income to pay for college after all federal, state and institutional grant aid is counted. Cutting Pell Grants even further would significantly increase the burden for these families.

–A household earning $80,000 annually contributes $30.90 per year toward all forms of federal student financial aid for college. The same family contributes $1,015.97 for national defense.

–By age 24, the children of the wealthy are 10 times more likely to have a college degree than are the children of the poor. Our nation – built on the values of education, hard work and opportunity – cannot sustain this growing divide between the haves and the have-nots.

– Tuition and fees have grown at four-times the rate of inflation, and nearly twice as fast as health care expenses (college costs up 439 percent since 1982-84; medical expenses up 251 percent). There are a number of explanations for rising college prices, with declining state appropriations per student high on the list for public colleges and universities. But Pell Grants have been increased in recent years to try to KEEP UP with skyrocketing college costs – not the other way around.

– A recent study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce projects that our economy will have a shortage of about 3 million workers with college degrees by 2018.

– Pell has already taken its fair share of hits: $4 billion was slashed from the Federal Pell Grant Program budget last year. And program growth is expected to slow down dramatically over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office projects less than 1 percent annual growth in Pell costs over the next two years, and just 2 percent annual growth over the next 10 – a minuscule trajectory compared with the program’s growth since 2007.

For a good look at Pell Grants and what might be done to cut costs while improving student outcomes, please look at this Chronicle of Higher Education piece in which six different views are offered.

There are some good suggestions, including building in more incentives for Pell recipients to complete college and for colleges to work harder to help those students cross the finish line.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

70 comments Add your comment

Ole Guy

July 19th, 2011
4:40 pm

When are we going to stop crying; feeling sorry for ourselves due to the fact that we happen to be in the line of fire when educational funding sources, of any flavor, get clipped? Nobody likes to be the guina pig when it comes to the inconvenience of doing without that to which we have become accostomed…but you know, “the good ship REALITY is in…it’s docked and here to stay”. Now we can either complain, complain, and complain (which, that and a buck just might get you a cup of coffee at the all-night dinner along with a sympathetic ear from the bored waitress with six pounds of makeup on her gum-snapping head) or you can accept the fact that the changes all about us are to impactus all in one way or another…NO ONE’S IMMUNE FROM THE HARSHNESS OF REALITY

David Sims

July 19th, 2011
4:46 pm

Don’t slash the amount of the grants. Make the eligibility requirements higher, so that only the most worthy can get them. Inclusiveness is a bad idea because it diverts money from the students in whom money is best invested to students who will not, in their lifetimes, return nearly so much value to the nation.


July 19th, 2011
4:53 pm

I’m not sure that anyone but the very wealthy can REALLY afford college. Most of us have to borrow a little or a lot. I work at a local college (that has a lot of lower middle class and poor students). I go to school with lots of young people who are too young to be emancipated, but receiving almost no financial support from their parents for school–because their parents are middle class and just can’t afford it. These kids work multiple jobs and take out loans to make ends meet. They are always fretting with each other about how they will make it. But somehow they do and I see them semester after semester. These are the kids I feel sorry for.

There is another group of kids who are from very low income families. These kids get need based aid–enough for tuition and extras. They brag about how they don’t have to pay for school. And on refund day, these are the kids who are celebrating their “refunds” as a financial windfall. They are also the kids I see at the beginning of the semester in class, a week or so later hanging out on campus, and then by mid semester, never see again.

Obviously, this is anecdotal evidence. But my own observation has been that need based financial aid is often squandered. Perhaps the kids feel no ownership? Certainly, they often suffer from a lot of other factors that make them otherwise not prepared for education. There is room–really great need–for reform. It sound harsh to say it because we are talking about poverty and education–its hard not be sentimental when we read those two words together. But as it is, I think we are spending a lot of money and not really doing as much good as we think.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 19th, 2011
4:59 pm

How ’bout welfare(”free” money for rent, food, etc. while enrolled in college v. purposeful matriculation)) and about a way to increase the number of people who possess college-level credentials(v. college-level academic skills), among other purposes?

Grayson Mom

July 19th, 2011
5:04 pm

How about if a student flunks out the grant becomes a loan that has to be paid back?


July 19th, 2011
5:13 pm

Gee, I worked and took out loans to pay for college; was I wrong to do so?

Struggling Teacher

July 19th, 2011
5:14 pm

Pell grants are to help the intelligent gain a college education. Society ultimately is improved because of the higher education of its populace. However, if a student does not perform, then perhaps that grant should become a loan that has to be repaid, but please don’t eliminate the Pell grant. It has helped far more than it has been abused.

Really amazed

July 19th, 2011
5:23 pm

Why do these kids receive the HOPE and Pell Grant????? Isn’t this double dipping the system???? This should be the first thing to stop! If you qualify for Pell grant no HOPE!!!!! I am soooooooooooo sick of the entitlement mentality attitude in this state and country.


July 19th, 2011
5:25 pm

If it were not for Pell Grant, I would not have been able to return to school after high school. At the time, as a young, divorced mother of two, I had to find a way to care for my children. This grant provided me the opportunity to get a degree and a job in my profession. Young people need the grant so they can become productive members of society.

another comment

July 19th, 2011
5:26 pm

In 1978, when I went to college my father a small business owner had $5,200 in taxable income on his tax returns. We had a family of 6.

In, 1969, my father had gotten very ill, with the Honk Kong Flu, and after missing over 3 months of work the doctor told him he needed to quit one of his two jobs. So he quit his better paying job as a night Auto Mechanic for the Telephone Company repairing the bucket trucks from 4-12 every night that paid $10,000/yr. A solid middle class job in 1969.

My father never collected, any disability payments, we never received food stamps, welfare, free lunch or any entitlement programs.

However, when I and my 3 younger siblings applied to college we all knew that the only funds to go to college were Federal Finacial Aid, Loans, and Summer Jobs. I went out of state and to a Private college so I worked three jobs. My sisters went within the State we lived so they got State Grant Money. I received the Maximum Pell Grant in each of the 4 undergraduate years I spent in College from 1978-1982. I beleive it was only $1600 a year. My first year Private School tuition was only $3,200 yr. in 1978 in 1982 it was 6,400. That University is now $38,000 per year . I also had Federal Work Study and Student Loans. The room and board was about double the tuition payments. After the second year I did not have a meal plan, because I could not afford it and could eat on $20 a week or less. I earned a full tuition scholarship to for Graduate School for Engineering, for graduating 5th in my college class for my major. I was the first female teaching assistant at this top Engineering School in my discipline. I finished my Master’s degree in two semesters, because I had taken 18-21 credit hours every semesters. I also took classes at the local community college during summers at cheaper rates. I was the President of a Chapter of a National Engineering Honor Society.

Throughout my career I quickly rose through the ranks. I became an engineering Manager in my mid twenties. I retired early making in the well over six figures. I paid taxes on all of the income I made during my career. I would not have been able to go to college without the Pell Grant. It is not a Welfare system. I have more than paid back the $1600 a year x 4 year investment in taxes. I paid back my $14,000 in student loans in less than 10 years.

My siblings also have paid back in taxes their Pell Back investment. They have paid back their student loans. 3 out of 4 of us have Graduated from College. My brother who did not works in New York as a Union Printer. His company sent him to Greenville, SC, when they tried to open a plant there. Unfortunately, they could not find enough skilled and educated labor in SC to run their high tech equipement and after a couple years gave up and went back to their Union shops in New York and California.


July 19th, 2011
5:31 pm

This proposal to severely reduce the amount available for Pell Grants speaks to the Republicans true motives regarding access to education for all Americans. Combine this cut, which affects the poorest Americans and their access to a college education, with the cuts to public education and you quickly get the idea that they want access to education to be limited to the wealthy.

Struggling Teacher is Right!

July 19th, 2011
5:32 pm

“(Pell Grant program) has helped far more than it has been abused.” Well said! Very well said!


July 19th, 2011
5:39 pm

As a struggling middle class family we have to sacrifice our own retirement savings to put kids through a state college. I agree there should be some performance based critieria in award of the grants. Either make it SAT/ACT scores or HS GPA of core classes.
The other way they get you is the cost of software for each class. My daughter is going to Ga Southern and she is expected to pay about $250 for a book and software access code for one class. She found a place to get just the printed pages of the book (no binder) and the software code for $150. And this is just 1 semester of use for 1 class. There is no return value in the s/w code because it expires after the term. Money spent on nothing. This is getting all too typical and required in most of her classes. For example she has a PE class, specifically softball, where she is required to pay for an $60-$80 software access fee. Maureen, someone is getting rich off of my retirement dollars. I hope that someone starts looking in to these fees and to perhaps provide some sort of buffer for kids who are just trying to do something with their lives. For the kids its either eat or pay for vaporware. It looks like the whole wages of summer will just go to books and associated software fees. So how can students afford tuition increases and housing too? My daughter works year round and yet she couldn’t make it if it weren’t for us. We can’t qualify for grants.


July 19th, 2011
5:50 pm

Get these for- profit colleges reined in and you will save a ton of federal money. They are the leaches on the system. However they have lots of influence in congress.


July 19th, 2011
5:55 pm

There is just no accountability. These funds are used as a form of income generation by large numbers who could not care less about education.


July 19th, 2011
5:56 pm

Why don’t we write our congressmen to tell them our opinion on their decisions instead of wasting time pontificating here?


July 19th, 2011
5:59 pm

@ Really amazed

Hope, unless it has changed,only will cover what a student does not qualify for from Federal funds. If I remember right, you can’t get Hope if you do not apply for Federal financial aid first. So “rich” kids, who would never qualify, will apply for Pell so they can get Hope.

Simplified example:
Tuition costs 1,000 a semester
Poor kid gets 700 from Pell and 300 from Hope
Wealthier kid gets 0 from Pell and 1,000 from Hope

The Red State blues

July 19th, 2011
6:18 pm

I’ve got to agree with Tony. The Republicans number one concern is protecting the wealth of
the rich. Everything else is secondary. They will not be happy until there is no redistribution of wealth
at all except from the bottom up. Feudalism Rocks!

Farking Genius

July 19th, 2011
6:20 pm

Get rid of Pell grants. Get rid of WIC/SNAP and all welfare programs. Get rid of tax breaks for all companies. Reduce salaries of all politicians by 90% (yep, serious, they don’t earn their money) and go back to fending for one’s self. Also, no more foreign aid and start closing bases around the world. Let the countries find a way to defend themselves. Last, but not least, any family making over 70K/yr should NOT be eligible for any free student money. They should find their own way to pay for education, if that’s what you call the crap in our colleges today.


July 19th, 2011
6:29 pm


metro atlanta teacher

July 19th, 2011
6:30 pm

I received the Pell Grant as an undergraduate in addition to my other scholarships, but I never considered it “welfare”. To me, it was the same as a scholarship, but instead of the scholarships I earned from high SAT scores and high ACT scores, or a special Engineering scholarship I received, it was like a scholarship for how poor my family was. haha

In Mississippi, we didn’t have a HOPE program, but one thing they did have that was funded by the government was the MESG program (Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant). If you scored a 29 or above on the ACT and had a 3.5 GPA in high school, you qualified for a $10,000 scholarship over 4 years. However, if your college GPA fell under 3.5, you lost the Grant, and couldn’t get it back. I think I kept it for three years, but finished school around a 3.3. This was around 2001.

Point being, if it weren’t for Pell Grants, the MESG grant, and other scholarships, I would have been hardpressed to even go to college. I was a first generation college student, and my family was dirt poor. If they take these grants away, good kids would lose their ability to do what I did.


July 19th, 2011
6:47 pm

If you want services – you must pay for them, including education, fire/police/defense protection and various types of care. In many more prosperous countires, such as Germany, they have higher taxes and a higher standard of living, coupled with better education and a longer life span. Americans want and want and want, but they desire that someone else pays for it. You can continue to cry about tax increases while you are paying less than what your parents did in the 50’s or you can say, “increase my Medicare taxes (they are nothing compared to what private insurance cost each month) and have better medical coverage. You can increase your educational taxes and have better schools. But you aren’t going to continue to get these things for free or at the current level of taxes that we pay. Americans don’t mind paying taxes – they mind paying someone else’s taxes. Corporations who cheat on their taxes should have their busienss license pulled. Don’t buy the line that more people will be unempoyed because under capitalism, more competition would emerge and hire those displaced workers. Close all the loopholes that corporations receive (tax subsidies to corporations is not capitalism) pass a flat tax of 10-15% on everything except food, medicine and housing and watch America grow again like it did after WWII. The good book tells us that the poor will always be with us and we are to take care of them. As soon as we get the poor educated, they start to pay taxes. Look at Pell recipients as small businesses – Every startup company needs seed money in order to build their brand and turn a profit later on.


July 19th, 2011
7:00 pm

I was a Pell Grant recipient. This is one area I will gladly pay more taxes to support. It is too important.

Doris M

July 19th, 2011
7:06 pm

Don’t end the Pell Grants!!!

i used to teach

July 19th, 2011
7:19 pm

Attention parents: instead of spending obscene amounts of money on your children’s birthdays, extravagant Christmas presents and the obligatory car at 16– save up for their college fund. Just a thought.

Paddy O

July 19th, 2011
7:27 pm

I’d cut this, until we balance the federal budget, everything must be eliminated until we get to balance. However, it would probably NOT be on the top 5000 things I would cut.

Paddy O

July 19th, 2011
7:32 pm

peyton – agree predominantly. But of course, the stumbling block on comparative studies is the base: is Germany & the US comparable? No. We are far more diverse, and much, much larger – we also have our fingers in literally everyone’s pies. BUT, I do agree on closing tax loop holes. Also, the good book asks us to take care of those worse off than we, but does it state to do it through the very ineffective federal government (to provided an equitable level of service, it is easy/cost effective to deliver in an urban center, but in Mississippi? Guam? Montana, etc? It is NOT cost effective – let the local government raise their taxes to take care of their poor). I would say no, it should be done through your church or local charity.

Sarah Balter

July 19th, 2011
7:33 pm

Mr. Rehberg might have benefited from a little research on the Dept. of Education before he made his unfortunate comments. The ‘endgame’ he calls for exists in the form of a Dept. of Education requirement for all postsecondary institutions getting Title IV federal funds to have academic progress policies that place limitations on eligibility for many types of federal aid, including Pell Grants, based on factors including academic progress, attempted credit hours, and time.

At Georgia State University, the “Time Frame Standard” under the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy literally limits the time a student can attend via Federal Aid until the expectation of graduation. Undergraduate students get a maximum of 180 attempted hours, including any transfers.

Buzz G

July 19th, 2011
7:53 pm

We need more snouts at the trough. Here piggy, piggy, piggy.

Winfield J. Abbe

July 19th, 2011
8:05 pm

Everytime there is another government give-a-way program, a new constituency is created to demand more, more and more public money. This is why the country is bankrupt. The boat is sinking fast.
Pell grants go to all schools, public and private even religious based. In a sense these grants are welfare to the faculty members of these schools because they provide the students necessary to sustain their jobs. We have far too many colleges in the U.S. Without the federal welfare, many would have shut down long ago and many should shut down.
Look at who caused the housing crisis. Were not they college graduates? Are not most of Congress college graduates but look what they have done to the county? How about eliminating foreign aid, eliminating fancy retirement and health plans for Congress, etc.? How about eliminating these meaningless wars? Are not all these foolish programs and decisions made by college graduates? Evidently higher education is a total dismal failure. End Pell grants and many other welfare programs and let much of higher education die the death it deserves. Couldn’t a good high school student make more intelligent decisions than Congress or the corrupt generals in the Pentagon?

Voice of Reason

July 19th, 2011
8:16 pm

@sarah balter, the maximum time frame to be eligible for federal aid is 1.5 times the number of credit hours attempted. Basically someone can attempt 50% more hours than a student who is passing all courses and still continue to receive student aid. That is very generous in my opinion.

Struggling Teacher

July 19th, 2011
8:20 pm

Pell Grants are a way to help the common good of our society. Pell grant recepients who have higher education will pay far more taxes than those who work for minimum wage and pay fewer taxes because of a lack of education. It is important to think out of the box, i.e., unselfishly. Really, people. Think what would be lost if the Pell grant is eliminated. Learn to recognize a good investment when you see one.


July 19th, 2011
8:21 pm

Is the money voluntarily contributed by people who earned their money in the voluntary, private, productive sector of society?


Then its welfare.

Charity would involve a voluntary contribution. This is theft and wealth redistribution. An investment is made by someone with their own hard-earned money. What government does is called vote-buying (oh, and did I say theft?).

So long Pell. Maybe now colleges and universities will feel some pressure to cut their costs since Uncle Sam and his money machine won’t be around to line their pockets anymore.

tar and feathers party

July 19th, 2011
8:36 pm

There is a strong positive correlation between the amount of money the Federal government pumps into education and the rate at which the cost of education goes up. As long as society keeps paying the tab for college, schools are able to keep raising prices. I support the idea of cutting Federal dollars going to education, in the expectation that the costs of education will then decline. The same principle applies to health care, the more the government pumps into health care, the faster costs go up, so lets cut funding for Medicare, Medicaid, and all federal health programs by say 20% a year.

social studies teacher

July 19th, 2011
8:58 pm

My problem with pell grants is when students qualify for Hope and PELL. I teach at a community college and many students have both. Hope pays first, then Pell. If there is money left over, they get checks. Most of the students live at home so there is a lot of money left over. I have students making $400 amonth from Pell. Any extra money should be put back in the program.

Go Panthers!

July 19th, 2011
9:16 pm

The funny thing about the term “welfare” is that it implies that one on it can fare well. In my experience, that is rarely the case. Therefore, I rarely pay attention when the word starts getting thrown around. It’s one of those Right Wing, button-pushing pejorative words – like liberal. It just makes no sense logically to overgeneralize (from either Wing) like that, but it’s easy to use and undersatnd as a curse word by the illogical when they have their hen parties.

A scholarship student going to an Ivy League school can barely pay for a year’s worth of books and supplies with the current Pell Grant. It is at pathetic levels now and if they cut it, I will have proof that the American dream of education for all of those mentally capable of achieving it is over and specifically, officially and with no malice, it was killed with this legislation.


July 19th, 2011
9:20 pm

Pell Grants are a way to help the common good of our society.

Ah, spoken like a true socialist. Money lying in a pile for anyone to take does not help the common good. The free enterprise system, a system of varying educational institutions that must compete for funds, a strong private sector that fosters opportunities and advancement…these are the things that help the common good.

I have no problem with a private charity offering scholarships based on need. I think that many would voluntarily contribute. What about you Struggling Teacher???

Tar and Feathers is absolutely correct. There is absolutely a solid correllation between the rise in college costs and not just federal free money, but the Hope Scholarship, Federally guaranteed student loans and other subsidized giveaways.

There are no INVESTMENTS, and there is certainly no data to support their cost/benefit analysis. What their are are vote-buying schemes that socialists love to benefit from or assuage their collective guilt by supporting.

Yes, college is expensive, but it is not the only avenue for education – at least it shouldn’t be. Further, if there is no real cost to attending, it loses its VALUE (yes teacher, there actually IS a meaning to the word). Just look at government run K-12. It is essentially “free” in that NO parent pays what the state spends on education of even one child let alone if they have multiple. The result – parents that don’t care, parents that can’t take their kid and leave, kids that are basically prisoners, and a failed system.

Socialism is a failure everywhere it has been tried. Scholarships are wonderful. I earned many myself to assist with the costs of my education – but they were private, not a product of government theft – and that made them all the more special.


July 19th, 2011
9:25 pm

Fair enough. Let’s not call it welfare. Let’s accurately describe it – stolen property. It is money that is stolen from productive, hard-working folks and handed to someone else because some politician believes that the recipient has either more need or a better use for the money than the person who actually earned it.

Does WELFARE sound better when ACURATELY described?? Certainly not a right-wing buzz word now. Now it is clearly an immoral act perpetrated by a group of people, who because they call themselves “the government” feel that it is no longer an immoral act. Not sure why? The act is the same as before – with political windowdressing.

Lisa B.

July 19th, 2011
9:26 pm

I think Pell Grants are very important. I also think that if a student “drops out” PELL should become a loan. I really don’t have a problem if students receive both Hope and PELL. However, I do think there should be a time/course limit on how long the awards can be received. I was horrified to hear that students can receive Pell for EIGHT years to attend technical colleges. Give me a break. Most tech school programs are two and a half year max. To me, that is completely different from students receiving Pell to attend medical or engineering schools. We need to keep Pell, but be smart about how it is used.


July 19th, 2011
9:44 pm

Pell Grants serve an important function and are worth the expenditure
of federal dollars considering the benefits and the risk. The debate
about whether to refer to the grant as an investment, or welfare does
not change the need for the grant’s existence,or the function of the
grant in assisting college students to obtain their professional goals.
Out-of-State students attending universities in Georgia pay the actual
cost of attendance, but most out-of-state students do not refer to in-
state college students as welfare recipients,because they get the
same academic services for a subsidized (discount) rate. I don’t
view the need for welfare, or grants as synonymous with fraud,even
though I know that a small percentage of individuals will take
advantage of the situation.

Struggling Teacher

July 19th, 2011
10:01 pm

Maybe “socialism” would applly to a Pell grant. OK. Whatever. I have learned, however, there are no absolutes, no 100% guarantees, and no free lunches. There are many many many other government programs I would rather see eliminated than the Pell grant. I have seen it do so many wonderful things for my students who used the grant wisely. And, yes, I do and will continue to donate to private scholarship fundings. I go the extra mile (or dollar) to help those coming along behind me, because someone ahead of me made many things possible for me. I feel no remorse in attempting to “pay it forward” for the common good. Sorry, if this attitude offends anyone. It’s just how I roll.

Go Panthers!

July 19th, 2011
10:04 pm

See. It pushed Mr. Liberty’s button. Point proven.


Former Middle School Teacher

July 19th, 2011
10:22 pm

It is called “Social Darwinism” and it is practiced by many in the Republican party today. The idea was very popular the last time we had such an imbalance in wealth during the Robber Baron days. When T.R. and the Progressive Movement are disparaged, you really have to wonder how many of these so called Christians really believe in what they profess to follow.

Eddie G

July 19th, 2011
11:29 pm

Mr. Liberty……… you drive on roads? Do you like having fireman and a police force to protect your home? If not, too bad for you. You don’t have a say in where your tax money goes. If so, then quit yer bitchin’……… still don’t have a say in where your tax money goes.

Eddie G

July 19th, 2011
11:38 pm

Mr. Liberty…………do you enjoy having police protection? How about fireman? Do you drive? Or take public transportation? If you do, thank your tax money. And if you don’t, then thank your tax money. You don’t get a say in how it’s spent. Although by your train of thought, if young people wanting to attend college need to just “suck it up” and find a way to make it happen and not use your tax money, then maybe you need to just “suck it up” and put out your own home should it catch on fire. Or do your own investigative work should your home get burglarized. Or get a 4×4 so you can make your own paths, because you don’t need to drive on roads paid for and maintained with tax money.

Bitter, party of one……………your table is ready.

See the Forest, Not Just the Trees

July 20th, 2011
12:01 am

It is interesting how individuals can easily take on the task of bemoaning students who benefit from various financial aid program (i.e. HOPE and Pell Grants) yet fail to apply the same level of scrutiny to the vast “corporate welfare” provided in this country.

Let’s not forget (or do we simply not know) that taxpayers bailed out many of the multi-national corporations (besides banks) that continue to send jobs overseas, assumes an effective tax rate that is less than the statutory corporate tax rate (that many are quick to complain is too high), and take advantage of many tax breaks (i.e. tax credits and tax expenditure programs) every single year to the tune of billions of dollars.

Thus, for those who are right to be concerned about whether various “entitlement” financial aid programs are effective or necessary, I urge you to apply the same level of scrutiny towards corporate welfare as well. Just because one makes money does not mean he/she/it “earned” that money. To often we give corporate america a free pass while simultaneously whaling on other constituencies who do have the same level of clout in the halls of Congress and under the Gold Dome.

Lisa B.

July 20th, 2011
12:15 am

Way back when, some insurance guy promised a fire team if the payee paid money. It worked. Firemen were paid to put out fires for those who could pay. Eventually, (I don’t know this part as fact) it probably seemed to be good for everyone else if the fire was extinguished. Public schools were created, in part, because children were working in factories, and there were few jobs for adults. Unions came along, and got the kids out of the factories, so the adults could work. Unions were needed then. People needed workman’s compensation if hurt at work. I don’t know the answer, but I don’t want to go back to those days. “Weird” kids were shut into closets. Disabled workers had to beg from neighbors. Do we really want to see that again in America?

2nd grade teacher

July 20th, 2011
12:31 am

I like this comment: “Don’t slash the amount of the grants. Make the eligibility requirements higher, so that only the most worthy can get them. Inclusiveness is a bad idea because it diverts money from the students in whom money is best invested to students who will not, in their lifetimes, return nearly so much value to the nation.”

If not for Pell Grants, my husband wouldn’t been able to graduate from college…which he did, and now is very successful! Not everyone abuses the system.


July 20th, 2011
7:50 am

Do away with Pell Grants. Its just more money tossed into the toilet.

Yankee Prof

July 20th, 2011
8:28 am

I *see* a lot of kids who are obviously juking the system, using Pell grants and the like to fund a year or so of access to the college lifestyle without any serious interest in performing the work necessary to earn a college degree. What I don’t *see* a lot of are the Pell recipients who are here to better themselves through education and who are committed to performing the work necessary to achieve their goals.

But if I judge Pell only according to what I *see*, I am guilty of short-sightedness. Because the former group can’t help but draw attention to themselves while the larger latter group does not. The honest and the committed simply do the work, and this is the way it has always been, and they don’t broadcast their financial situations to me, their classroom instructor. Most of the students I see in my class are first-generation college students. Some are ready, some think they are, but are not, and some, a very few, are here just to spend some free time at the expense of others.

So many ask ‘Why should the haves pay for the have nots?’ Let me turn that around a bit: Why should the wills suffer because of some will nots?