College Financial Aid Becoming A Campaign Issue

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Updated: 8/30/2012 12:10 am
When Paul Ryan entered the presidential race, his budget plan became a campaign issue.  Ryan's proposed budget includes cuts to Pell Grants, a key portion of financial aid for college students. 

In 2011, about one in four University of Kentucky students received a Pell Grant.  Without that money, the school's financial aid office says those students would not be able to attend UK. 

Ryan says Pell Grants need cuts so they can be funded into the future, making sure they are available for the truly needy.  The reform group "Education Trust" says Ryan's plan means fewer students would receive Pell Grants.

"I'm concerned that in the future that students like me will struggle worse than I already do.  Having to worry about financial responsibilities is a lot on a college student, and I'm already worried that it'll get worse for college students," said Amari Henderson, a UK Junior who receives a Pell Grant.

With the grants becoming a campaign issue, students worry about paying for the rising cost of college.

"My family's not in the best financial state.  My mom's been unemployed for the last year and a half.  Having one parent employed is not really helping the having two kids going to college situation," said Alex Priar, a UK Freshman who receives a Pell Grant.

Last year a Pell Grant covered 42% of a student's tuition at UK. 

"We consider Pell Grants the floor of the financial aid package, which means that's the first thing that goes in," said Lynda George, University of Kentucky's Director of Student Financial Aid.

George says she hopes Pell Grants continue to be funded.  She says losing them would be a huge loss for students. 

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