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Proposed Cuts to Student Funding

Monday, Mar. 21, 2011
Proposed Cuts to Student Funding

March 22, 2011

As the financial awards for new student applicants are being prepared, we are seeing an increase in the number of families filing for aid, and most are showing a lower adjusted gross income. The increased need among our families makes the proposed state and federal cuts to student funding that much more detrimental. Earlier this month, I sent a message to all faculty, staff, regents, trustees, and parents of current and past students asking them to lobby against potential cuts to the Cal Grant and Federal Pell and SEOG Grants. To make our voice heard, students went to Sacramento last week to speak with legislators who may consider a reduction to the Cal Grant. Currently, 590 of our California undergraduates receive $5,656,330 from this program. While no specific reduction amount has yet been proposed, a 25% reduction would amount to over $1,400,000 to some of our neediest students. Sixty percent of them are first generation college attendees and 76% are students of color.

If the House proposal in Washington is adopted it would mean a 15% cut to the Pell Grant and elimination of the SEOG Grant. Both are designated for the neediest students. Those reductions would mean a loss of over $850,000 to 769 SCU students, most of them the same Californians who would be hit by state cuts.

I would like you to consider these facts and decide how you wish to help Santa Clara. Most helpful would be to speak out to your elected representatives to urge them to do two things:

  • First, provide sufficient Pell Grant funding to ensure the maximum award is not reduced in the 2011-12 academic year, something that has been proposed in the giant H.R. 1 bill that is expected to go to a vote in the next two weeks. This measure puts in jeopardy the plans of more than 700 families who had been counting on receiving some federal Pell Grant funding to attend Santa Clara this coming school year.
  • Second, it is vital to express our ongoing, resolute support for the Pell and SEOG grant programs. Because these reductions will have a detrimental impact on low-income students, putting tens of thousands in jeopardy of having to drop out of college, I ask you to join me in strong opposition to any cuts to this program.

Michael E. Engh, S.J.

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