According to 140+ student body presidents, we now “have a deal” on the nation’s debt ceiling.
On Tuesday, both houses of Congress signed off on a measure that, in exchange for evading default and economic calamity, would immediately slash $1 trillion from the federal deficit and direct a new joint committee to find $1.5 trillion in additional cuts. They will temporarily spare Pell Grants with a three-year allocation of $17 billion.
Under the Obama administration, the maximum award under the program increased to $5,550. But this new award represents the smallest share [PDF] of the average college tuition in the program’s history.
Meanwhile, the debt deal eliminates subsidized loans for almost all graduate and professional students. Previously, student loans could not start accruing interest under after graduation. That will no longer be the case, and the CBO estimates that it will save the federal government $21 billion over ten years. Part of these savings will be used to keep Pell Grants afloat.
Image from National Education Association
2 Comments »
At a press conference this afternoon, GUSA President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12) stood with a handful of other student body presidents as they unveiled their letter to President Obama, imploring him and other leaders to reach a compromise on the debt ceiling debate and the country’s budget crisis.
Over 100 college and university student body presidents representing over 2 million students signed the letter. Similar letters will be hand delivered to members of Congress.
Meaney, who spearheaded the initiative along with other members of GUSA, explained that the idea to appeal to the country’s leadership was born out of a conversation during a bus ride about a week ago. The topic of discussion: the discrepancy between how our government ideally works and “the sorry state of the ongoing gridlock over the debt ceiling and deficit.”
“We asked ourselves: How come our leaders can’t seem to work together for the good of the country? Why do they seem to care more about the next election than the next generation?” he said. “Young people are often used as a political football, but we can’t afford to let others speak for us any longer.”
The letter [PDF] is an appeal for bipartisan collaboration that transcends party agendas, ideology, and promises. “We can’t pass up an opportunity to solve our problems because of pledges, partisanship, or pettiness,” Meaney said. He later denied any reference to the GOP’s Pledge to America, which was released before the 2010 elections and vowed to drastically reduce government spending.
Read the rest of this entry »
14 Comments »
GUSA President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12), former Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’12), and other members of the executive are leading student body presidents from over one hundred different national universities in an effort urging a speedy, “bipartisan” consensus on raising the debt ceiling.
Meaney and other student body presidents will present a petition on the issue Thursday at 1:00 p.m. at the National Press Club. He hopes that this letter will recreate the media attention of a similar petition last year urging action on now-scrapped plans for energy education. The petition has been signed by student governments representing over 1.8 million students nationwide.
The Congressionally-set debt ceiling allows the United States to meet previously agreed-to debt obligations. Failing to raise the debt ceiling will cause the United States to default on the treasury bonds it has already issued to fund the deficit spending of the past decade or so. In the short term, this would cause a government shutdown as the U.S. is unable to borrow to meet its immediate needs.
Read the rest of this entry »
3 Comments »