Sen. Warner supports protection of Pell Grants

CT file photo.

Mechelle Hankerson
News Editor

Virginia Senator Mark Warner visited VCU last Monday to talk about the national debt and how it affects Americans, including college students. In addition to education funding, Warner talked about what the country can do to have a better-working economy and job market.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner said last Monday morning that despite being a champion for reducing the federal deficit, he supports protecting education support programs, like the Federal Pell Grant Program.

“Can I guarantee absolute, 100-percent protection? No,” Warner said. “But my feeling is we’ve already taken more cuts out of the domestic programs, which include education (so) now we have to look at defense … (and) subsidy programs.”

Warner told a group of VCU students that he was the first member of his family to graduate college, and without assistance programs, specifically the student loan program, it may not have been possible.

Warner’s experience is not unique: According to Senate Resolution 274 introduced Sept. 22, almost 9 million students in the United States received a Federal Pell Grant in the 2010 academic year.

Senate resolutions are not laws, and they do not have to be treated as such. Resolutions often just state the feelings of those that introduce or sponsor it and do not necessarily have to be honored in Congress decision-making.

Warner is not a co-sponsor of Senate Resolution 274, which was introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

According to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, during the 2009-2010 school year, 5,662 VCU students were awarded Pell grants. The number is second in the state, only behind Old Dominion University by about 100 students.

In the state, 36,408 students among four-year institutions relied on the Federal Pell Grant Program to provide for $146,986,076 of higher education costs during the 2009-2010 school year.

Republicans in the House of Representatives wanted to cut funding for Pell grants by an average of about $1,775.

On Friday, Congress’ supercommittee, which was formed to create a working budget, did not pass a working budget. Without a budget, no changes have been made to Federal Pell Grant funding.


Infographic by Ying Cheng, Photo by Glenn Jodun

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