Federal budget cuts could leave Ohio college students behind

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Posted October 02, 2017 in

Author: Victoria Jackson

For many Ohioans, college paves the way to the middle class. If President Trump and Congressional Republicans get their way, college could become more unaffordable and further out of reach for many Ohio students, according to a report from Policy Matters Ohio.

Members of the House Budget Committee voted to slash $236 billion in mandatory education spending. They targeted Pell Grants, subsidized loans, income-based repayment plans and public service loan forgiveness. Trump proposed deep cuts to aforementioned programs along with cuts to programs that help people get to college and complete their degrees. Meanwhile, both Trump and House Republicans propose giving the wealthiest Americans huge payouts in the form of tax cuts.

If these plans pass, there would have grave consequences for the more than 221,000 low-income Ohio students who received $800.8 million in Pell Grants during the 2015-16 academic year and the more than 242,000 Ohio students who got help paying for college with more than $907 million in federally subsidized loans.

“Pell Grants and federal student loans don’t just help the individual student, they help all of us,” said Policy Matters State Policy Fellow Victoria Jackson. “When a student goes to college, they are getting skills that will not only help them get a better job, but also build a stronger Ohio with a more competitive workforce. We all have an interest in making education attainable.

The budget proposals would also slash forgiveness and repayment programs that help students make ends meet once they’ve finished school. These programs are especially important in Ohio which ranks in the bottom five states for college affordability. In Ohio, the average debt load for the class of 2016 was $30,351 higher than the national average.

“We know people who attend college earn better wages than those who do not,” Jackson said. “But once they have the job they’ve been training for, we need to make sure they can afford to live without being bogged down by student debt.”

Policy Matters calls for Ohio’s members of Congress to protect funding for Pell Grants and subsidized federal loans, income driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs for students who pursue careers in public service.

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