Paul Ryan’s Cuts to Student Aid

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate, is famous for his Ryan budget, a Republican vision changing America into what he would like it to be.

One of the almost unnoticed aspects of Ryan’s budget is what it would do to federal student aid. This New Republic article, which has also gone almost unnoticed, goes into it.

According to Perry Stein, Ryan would substantially cut the federal aid that the government gives to low-income students. The interest rate for federal Stafford loans would increase from 3.4% to 6.8%. Access to Pell Grants, federal grants helping low-income students pay for college tuition, would be substantially curbed. And the size of Pell Grants would not increase at all.

One wonders if Ryan’s budget makes any cuts to the military, the most inefficient part of the American government. Does it cut down on the billion-dollar planes America’s making? Probably not. But of course he cuts education.

There is a Republican rationale behind this: federal grants for the poor supposedly are responsible for rising tuition. Except that federal Pell Grants have actually fallen in real terms (that is, taking inflation into account) since they were first introduced.

It’s all pretty sad. Under Ryan’s plan, Mitt Romney would pay 1% in taxes while college students would have federal aid cut. That doesn’t sound like a good way to grow the economy.

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