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February 16, 2024

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‘Sequester’ to impact student financial aid

The national budget crisis could drain some grant and scholarship funds that hundreds of students rely upon to help pay their tuition.

On March 1, the government enacted the sequester, which is a series of mandatory budget cuts aimed at trimming the nation’s deficit by more than $4 trillion.

The sequester is attempting to cut $85 billion from areas like education, border control and other discretionary programs, according to a White House press release.

Students shouldn’t notice any immediate changes to benefits received by grants and scholarships for 2013, said Jerry Ameling, senior associate director for Student Financial Aid.

Students in 2014, however, will be hit harder due to the smaller budget allocated for grants that every public university offers.

Some of the negatively impacted grants include Federal Work Study and Federal Supplemental Grants, which award students with funds to help pay their tuition.

Almost 1,200 University students depend upon these grants to help pay tuition and class fees.

Projections show more than $70 million will be drained from these two grants nationally, according to estimations calculated by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

About 90 University education majors received teaching grants this year. “Teach grants” present opportunities like internships and chances to earn credit for education majors.

Despite the sequester’s large amount of education budget cuts, the University isn’t panicking just yet.

“At this point these are just soft cuts that won’t affect students this year,” Ameling said. “Every public university will feel the effects of the sequester. It’s not like one school will have an advantage over another. The negative effect is spread to everyone.”

Given how many areas the sequester will reach, some faculty members are concerned about what could potentially happen to the University in the future.

Since the sequester reduces funds to programs, it could lead to job loss, which could lead to a loss for the economy, said Russell Mills, assistant professor in political science.. If the sequester isn’t solved soon, the future of some positions at the University may also be at risk, Ameling said.

“The University and the students are in a really tough spot,” Mills added.

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