WASHINGTON, April 9 The details of the Bush administration's FY 2002 budget, released today, offer disappointing news to America's college students. While the proposal would add $1 billion to the Pell Grant program, it does not do enough to support key student aid programs that serve low- and middle-income students. The administration's budget would increase the maximum Pell Grant by just $100, to $3,850, for the nation's neediest college students. It also fails to increase funding for other important student aid programs, including Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Leveraging Educational Assistance Programs, Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study.
"After listening to the president advocate leaving no child behind, it's extremely disappointing that his first budget does little to help the millions of students who rely on federal student aid to attend and complete the college of their choice," said David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). "America's college students expect more from this administration."
On Friday, the Senate approved a budget resolution that would increase education funding by $250 billion over 10 years, including increasing the maximum Pell Grant by $600 this year.
"In the next 10 years, the number of college-age students will increase by 20 percent. Eighty percent of college students will come from minority backgrounds, and one in five will live in poverty," Warren said. "The Bush administration has an opportunity to prepare the nation for this coming demographic wave, and to build a legacy of equal educational opportunity. As the funding process moves along, we hope the White House and Congress will move toward an agreement that reflects these priorities."
In February, the congressional Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance warned that skyrocketing growth in the number of college-age students was straining the nation's student aid infrastructure. The committee said that without a significant reinvestment in the federal govern-ment's student aid programs, qualified low-income students would be at risk of being shut out of higher education.
NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. With nearly 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States. NAICU members enroll 85 percent of all students attending private institutions. They include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, comprehensive universities, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, art institutions, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, and other professions.