House Voted to Slash Pell Grants and Block Gainful Employment Rule
Despite strong opposition, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to cut the maximum Pell Grant for students this fall by at least $845 and eliminate $56 billion more in mandatory funding for Pell Grants over the next 10 years. As we warned in our last update, these cuts would reduce or eliminate Pell Grants for nearly 9 million students, making it impossible for many to get the education and training that they and our workforce need to succeed.
After a massive special-interest lobbying campaign by the for-profit college industry, the House also adopted an amendment to the same bill, H.R. 1, to force the government to ignore widespread waste, fraud and abuse in career education programs that receive billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded student aid. There is broad and diverse support for a strong "gainful employment" rule to protect students and taxpayers from rip-off programs, whether for-profit, non-profit or public. Still, the House passed an amendment to block the Education Department from implementing any gainful employment rule.
Thanks to your calls and emails, there was strong opposition to both of these harmful proposals. Many members of Congress decried cutting Pell Grants when so many students and families are struggling just to get by. And a bipartisan group of House members -- including a majority of the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American caucuses -- voted against the wasteful amendment to block any gainful employment rule.
Battleground Shifts to Senate — Action Needed!
The fight to preserve Pell Grants and protect students and taxpayers from rip-off career education programs has shifted to the Senate. While an agreement has been reached to keep the federal government running through March 18, legislators must still reach agreement on federal spending for the rest of the current year (fiscal year 2011). The House has already voted to slash Pell Grants and block gainful employment, and a Senate bill to block gainful employment (S. 460) was just introduced.
Tell your Senators to step up for students by preserving the maximum Pell Grant and stand up to special interests by supporting a strong gainful employment rule. Take action today!