While the hotly contested budget proposal passed Thursday made cuts for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year for various nationwide programs, those that affect Penn have not undergone major changes.
“The programs that are most important to Penn and students, I think, survived pretty well,” Penn’s Associate Vice President of Federal Relations Bill Andresen said.
The budget talks took on an increasingly partisan tone as the debates progressed.
The Republican vision is one that “says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels … we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy,” President Barack Obama said in his April 13 budget address.
In a statement, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Oh.) said that Obama’s address represented how “more promises, hollow targets and Washington commissions simply won’t get the job done.”
Andresen, who lobbies for Penn’s interests in Washington, added that “in general, education and science fared pretty well” in light of the current U.S. financial crisis. Previously proposed budget cuts by Republican lawmakers had threatened such funding more heavily.
The Pell Grant program — which awards need-based grants to low-income students — underwent previously expected cuts. The maximum amount of money a student can receive per academic year remains unchanged at $5,550.
However, the summer Pell Grant program has been eliminated, so students will not be able to receive federal Pell Grants even while enrolled in summer classes.
The cut is “obviously not a good thing, but it’s something that the Obama administration had indicated previously they would support,” Andresen said.
According to the U.S. News and World Report, 11 percent of Penn undergraduates receive some form of Pell Grant.
There were also cuts made to the federal TRiO programs, which are designed for low-income, minority and first-generation students at the undergraduate and graduate level, The cuts to these programs— in which Penn is a participant — are “nothing draconian,” Andresen said.
The $25 million in cuts represent approximately 3 percent of TRiO’s total budget.
TRiO programs at Penn include the McNair Scholars Program, which helps designated students who intend to obtain a doctoral degree, and the Upward Bound Program, in which Penn helps students throughout high school and prepares them for college.
Other cuts to research funds for the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health — which offer competitive grants, of which Penn is a top recipient — are “minor, nothing that should have a significant impact on Penn and its researchers,” Andresen explained.Comments powered by Disqus
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