Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Who's Buried in Pell Grant's Tomb?

Well, even before W begins his second term, the GOP is already taking (more) hatchets to the Great Society. Federal financial aid for higher education is first on the list. Due to a change in the government's formula for determining how much money a family should contribute to its childrens' educations, "Nearly 100,000 more students may lose their federal grants entirely, as Congress considers legislation that could place more of the financial burden for college on students and their families." This change, pushed by the Department of Education, occurred even though the formula's covering law, the Higher Education Act, was not renewed during the last session of Congress. Paying $300 million less in Pell Grants was apparently so important, it couldn't wait for the new year.

This change is amazing because the millions saved will be just 2.3% of overall Pell Grant disbursements, which ran to $13 billion in 2004. But saving money is less important, clearly, than performing some conservative social engineering. Making it harder for many Americans to get a good education is just one element of the larger project: getting the government out of everything but waging war and subsidizing corporations.

It's really staggering how good they are at this, isn't it?