WASHINGTON (July 18, 2012) Earlier today, a House appropriations subcommittee passed a bill that would slash more than $1 billion from next years federal education budget. However, the bill protects a number of programs that provide much-needed support for low-income students among them, Pell Grants and work-study benefits for college students, and Title I and IDEA funding for K-12 education.
Just last year, Subcommittee Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-Montana) proposed devastating cuts to the Pell Grant Program, a powerful lever for opening college doors to millions of low-income students. So we are encouraged to see that he now recognizes the importance of this program to our long-term economic well-being, and to hard-working low-income students nationwide not to mention the approximately 37 percent of Montana undergraduates who are trying to learn their way into the middle class with the assistance of Pell. Fully funding this program is indeed the right choice for our students and for our economy.
But even as we applaud them for protecting this handful of vital programs, we are disapponted that, once again, the House subcommittee is attempting to undercut the authority of the U.S. Department of Education to protect students and taxpayers from the most toxic career education programs. Earlier this month, a federal court upheld the Department’s authority to regulate this industry. But the subcommittee’s proposal would cut all funding for the implementation or enforcement of rules intended to curb the harmful practices of exploitive for-profit college companies, which derive the vast majority of their revenues from federal aid.
As this bill moves forward, we encourage the House to prioritize all of the programs critical for low-income students to get the kind of education they need.
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