Early last week, Suffolk County Community College’s (SCCC) Board of Trustees adopted a resolution urging Congress to reject funding cuts and eligibility reductions under the federal Pell Grants proposed in Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s budget, which was passed by the House of Representatives without Bishop’s support in April.
“Higher education is a gateway to opportunity, but that path would be closed to many students in Eastern Suffolk under the partisan Paul Ryan Budget passed by the House GOP,” said Bishop. “Supporting students should be a bipartisan issue, and I join SCCC’s Board in condemning these proposed cuts to America’s economic competitiveness and a 21st Century workforce.”
Pell grants are the primary federal grant for higher education. According to Bishop’s office over 18,000 students in the First Congressional District receive Pell Grant aid totaling nearly $70 million annually. In the last academic year, nearly 9,000 SCCC students, one third of the student body, received Pell Grant aid, which unlike other federal students loans does not need to be repaid.
The Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution passed by Republicans in the House, reduces the maximum award for Pell Grants and changes eligibility requirements for the program, resulting in a cut of at least $104 billion to Pell Grants over the next decade, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.