New Analysis Shows GOP Budget Cuts College Grants For 183,000 NJ Students

New Analysis Shows GOP Budget Cuts College Grants For 183,000 NJ Students

Jersey’s Middle Class Families See $115 Million in Pell Grants Disappear

New Jersey - More than 180,000 New Jersey college students will see education grants disappear under the budget proposed by Washington Republicans, according to new analysis released today by Senator Robert Menendez (D - New Jersey).

During a meeting with New Jersey college students Monday, Menendez gave Republicans an "F" for slashing college Pell grants for low and middle class families at a time when families are facing record unemployment and debt levels.

Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students from low and middle class families, in amounts up to $5,550 per year. The amount awarded depends on need, tuition costs as well as current academic status.

While the Obama Budget keeps the maximum award at $5,550, the Republican budget slashes the award by $845 - an 11 percent cut - and then continues to cut Pell Grants by $56 billion over the next ten years.

Officials at the Hudson County Community College, where the Senator met with students, said that while 80% of the student body is on financial aid, delinquency in student payment is up more than 180%. Enrollment this year has remained flat, but students are taking fewer hours because of difficulty securing their financing.

• The average in-state tuition and fees for NJ public colleges has increased by 66 percent over the past decade.
• During the same time, average tuition in private schools in NJ increased by almost 75 percent to more than $27,000 for this school year.
• The average debt for students attending NJ colleges and universities is more than $23,000, with almost two-thirds of all students holding debt.
• Nearly half of all college-ready students in families with incomes under $50,000 cannot go to a four-year college because cost is too much of a barrier

Senator Menendez said, "Education opens doors. But Republicans have slammed shut that door for thousands of New Jersey college students. By limiting the resources available for higher education, they are putting a break on New Jersey's future competitiveness. Republicans deserve a failing grade for cutting what is a lifeline for thousands of aspiring students."