Potential cuts pose threat to aid programs

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Federal financial aid programs could suffer deep wounds if the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee's proposed cuts in higher education spending are approved.

The subcommittee made their recommendations last Wednesday. The proposed cuts will now go to the full Appropriations Committee for a vote this Thursday or Friday, said Paul Allvin, director of the Arizona Students' Association. If passed by the full committee, the next step is the U.S. House of Representatives.

The funds gathered from these various financial aid programs are to go toward unpaid federal government tabs for the United States invasion in Haiti and disaster relief for floods in California last year. Some $20 billion is needed to avoid increasing the federal deficit, Allvin


The programs are set to draw on the funds on July 1 when the state fiscal year begins. Allvin said this would take back funds already applied and accounted for.

According to a press release from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the following programs would be terminated:

State Student Incentive Grant $63.4 million cut

State Postsecondary Review Entities

Alaska-Hawaii Native Cultures in Arts $1 million

Eisenhower Leadership Program $3.5 million

Law School Clinical Experience $14.9 million

Urban Community Service Grants $13 million

Student Financial Aid Database $500,000

Early Intervention Scholarship $3.1 million

National Science Scholarship $4.4 million

National Academic Space & Science Program $2 million

Douglas Teachers Scholarship Program $14.3 million

Olympic Scholarship Program $1 million

Teacher Corps $1.9 million

Faculty Development Grant $3.5 million

Ferris Fellowships $10.1 million

Javitz Fellowships $7.5 million

Other cuts include:

Direct Lending, unused administrative funds $47 million

TRIO $11.1 million cut (from $463 million)

Byrd Honors Scholarship Program reduced by $9.8 million

Americorps was also cut by $210 million, nearly half of its budget for this year.

"I have never seen something of this scale at the federal level," Allvin said. The two most worrisome cuts, Allvin said, are the State Student Incentive Grant and the Douglas Teachers Scholarship Program.

The State Student Incentive Grant began as a temporary program to encourage states to set up grant funds, with the federal government matching the funds dollar for dollar. About 5,000 needy students receive this grant money at an average amount of $800 per year. By cutting this program, Allvin said, "It's hurting the neediest of the needy students."

The Douglas Teachers Scholarship Program was developed to give money for incoming college students and post-baccalaureate students interested in teaching. The students teach in underserved areas, areas where the "most brainpower" is needed, to pay their debts, Allvin said.

Allvin said he does not think the cuts will pass the full committee and if they do they should be vetoed as promised by President Clinton. Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe serves on the full committee, and "will play a key role" in the decisions, Allvin said.

Students are communicating their concerns to Kolbe through e-mail and are campaigning for federal funding of education, he said.

"What worries me is that this same committee will be setting the budget next year and these programs will be eliminated," Allvin said. "There will not even be funding for them."

Allvin said because about 80 percent of funds for Arizona institutions comes from federal aid, these cuts could be "devastating" to education in this state.

Sergio Jasso, ASA delegate at the UA, agreed with Allvin. Because the bulk of financial aid in Arizona is not state-based, Jasso said, "Any cuts in federal aid would be detrimental."

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