by Katia Lin

In February, the House of Representative passed House Resolution 1, also commonly known as H.R. 1. Not yet approved by the Senate, HR1 would eliminate $5.7 billion, nearly 25% of funding for the Federal Pell Grant Program, which is the largest source of federal need-based financial aid in the country for students pursuing college educations. The House Republicans’ budget proposal, would reduce the maximum Pell Grant award by $845 for millions of students and eliminate the college aid program altogether for an estimated 10,000 students nationwide. Already, the average student debt is $23,000, and cutting Pell Grants would only increase that burden. If approved, the bill would have an undesirable effect on America’s already declining education system because an increasing number of students would not be able to afford it. Although a college education is becoming increasingly important, at what price should it come? Evidently at about $200,000. At Cornell, approximately 2,200 students currently receive Pell Grant funding, the most in the Ivy League, according to Thomas Keane, director of financial aid for scholarships and policy analysis. Because the proposed cut would affect financial aid beginning in the 2011-2012 academic year, the University would face $1.76 million worth of cuts in Pell Grants, which may or may not be made up by the University. Moral of the story: get involved, contact your Senators, or start saving up.