Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
In his 2000 campaign President Bush said he would raise Pell Grant awards to $5,100 from the existing $3,300 when he entered into office.
Now, with his term almost over, Pell Grants have only been raised to half the promised increase. They have held at $4,050 for the past three years with no indication that they will be increasing anytime soon.
The Pell Grant failure has provided fodder for Bush's opposition. In their last presidential debate together, Sen. John Kerry attacked Bush for not boosting the Pell Grant.
Despite this broken campaign promise, the criticism directed at the president over the matter of Pell Grants is vastly unwarranted.
To hold the president to his original platform regarding financial aid awards would be unreasonable given the extenuating circumstances of his term.
The current administration has had to deal with a terrorist threat that is unprecedented in our country's history.
National security has been placed at the forefront, while matters like education have taken a backseat.
In order to ensure the safety of the United States, the president has had to create a massive bureaucracy with which to better manage the terrorist threat.
Additionally, the resulting costs incurred from 9/11 have plunged this nation into a major recession, which we are just beginning to recover from.
Given these factors, the blame cannot be placed entirely on the president and his administration.
For all current and prospective students, the rising costs of education will become a major problem and hindrance in the pursuit of a college degree.
However, we cannot expect the federal government to be the sole provider of aid.
State governments need to provide for their residents to the best of their abilities.
The federal government should be seen as the last resort in funding. States have a vested interest in creating better-educated residents who will use their education to improve the economic conditions of their state.
The federal government can only do so much. It is the responsibility of individual states to set aside enough funding in their budget to ensure that deserving students can attend college.
Staff opinions are the opinion of the Arizona Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. Its members are Susan Bonicillo, Nate Buchik, Evan Caravelli, Brett Fera, Caitlin Hall, and Andrea Kelly.