John Kline (R-MN-02), chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, was in Tennessee to hold a congressional field hearing Thursday at Columbia State Community College. The local newspaper’s headline sums up Mr. Kline’s message rather succinctly :
Representative: Cut Pell Grants.
The paper also reported the reaction :
Hanna Miller, a 20-year-old sophomore at Columbia State Community College, said she and many of her classmates wouldn’t have been able to pursue higher education if it weren’t for the Pell Grant program.
“I wouldn’t be able to afford it at all,” she said. “I would just be working a dead-end job right now.”
Miller works 25 hours a week at Target during the school year and says she has no free time as it is. A smaller grant would mean she would have to work more hours to make ends meet.
“I would have to spend more time working and not as much time on my school work,” Miller said. “My grades would really suffer because of that.”
Ted Brown, president of Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, said about half of students at his institution receive Pell Grants and cutting the program would have a “significant impact.”
Under the Republican budget, the maximum Pell Grant award would be cut to $3,040 for the 2012-2013 school year, the lowest since 1998. For students, this could mean a cut in their aid of more than $2,500, making college far less affordable.
A report from the Department of Education Budget Service (prepared 4/14/2011) determined that this would impact a large number of Minnesota recipients :
17,000 in MN-01 ( Tim Walz )
16,186 in MN-02 ( John Kline )
17,428 in MN-03 ( Erik Paulsen )
20,029 in MN-04 ( Betty McCollum )
20,678 in MN-05 ( Keith Ellison )
19,753 in MN-06 ( Michele Bachmann )
17,982 in MN-07 ( Colin Peterson )
19,849 in MN-08 ( Raymond Cravaack )
The cost of higher education with – or without Pell Grants – is increasingly becoming a major problem.
Brett Anderson, MSSA Vice-President, wrote an interesting piece in the Voices section of the MSU-Mankato Reporter … key points :
Last May, fellow MSSA leaders and I walked 95 miles from the CSU to the State Capitol to talk about the cost of higher education. In fact, for the past three years, I have advocated tirelessly about the cost of higher education. Since I started at MSU, tuition has gone up 18% (It’s actually 20%, because for the last two years, stimulus funds have mitigated tuition 2%. You will see this 2% increase next year). College costs only go one direction — up. Costs for students and families are rising far more rapidly than family income.
In a time where 80 faculty members got layoff notices, academic programs were being reduced, and whole majors where eliminated, students reached into their pockets …
Interestingly, Mr. Kline goes to Tennessee to advise families that it will cost them more to pursue higher education, he does so after having a banner month in contributions to his Freedom and Security PAC in March … in a large part do to his “friends” in education industry.
Alta Colleges $1000
American Institutes-The School $500
Ayers Career College $5000
Baton Rouge School of Computer $500
Beauty Schools of America $5000
Brookline College $2000
Cameron College $1500
CORINTHIAN COLLEGES INC PAC $1000
Delta College of Arts & Technology, Inc $1000
Globe University $2400
ITI Technical College $350
ITI Technical Institute $1200
ITT Educational Services $1000
ITT Educations Services Inc. $1000
ITT SCI $750
Lincoln Education Services $1000
Northwestern College $1000
SALLIE MAE INC. PAC $2500
South College (formerly Knoxville Business College of Knoxville, TN) $3500
Some of the names are probably familiar from their television commercials, but let’s look at South College. One review describes the “College” as follows :
- South College is a very small four-year, private for-profit school with 950 students enrolled.
- The student retention rate at South College is very low at 44% (way below Tennessee average). Considering this statistic, it seems that students do not seem to enjoy their stay at this school.
- The graduation rate at South College is very low – 23%.
Average tuition pricing is fairly high – $15,300 a year. The additional fees at South College (not included in tuition costs) are approximately $300, which makes it a total of $15,600 annually.
- As reported in recent data, 45 applications were submitted and 45 were accepted (100%); so it is easy to get accepted at this school.
NOTE : Bolding added.
While Hanna Miller of Columbia State Community College wants to pursue a degree in Journalism yet Mr. Kline appears to be taking monies from the For-Profit industry to encourage more students to attend his largest contributor — Beauty Schools of America.
NOTE : Besides receiving contributions to his PAC, Mr. Kline also receives monies for his Congressional campaign war chest … First Quarter of 2011 include :
$5,000 – Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities Political Action Committee
$2,400 – Bridgepoint Education Inc. PAC
$2,500 – Career Education Corporation PAC (CEC-PAC)
It is conceivable that an individual could make a donation to Mr. Kline’s PAC, as well as to another PAC (such as CEC-PAC) which in turn would make a donation to Mr. Kline.
While it is not a sure thing that Beauty Schools may attract more students, it is a sure thing that with increased tuition costs and reductions in Pell Grants will have a serious impact on families … and potentially on America’s future.
According to a recent report from Minnesota’s DEED,
“National projections indicate that 70 percent of jobs in Minnesota will require a post-secondary degree by 2018, up from the current 40 percent.”
And as The Wall Street Journal wrote that multinational companies “cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show.”
It would certainly seem to me that if you are concerned about America’s Freedom and Security, we should support families with Pell Grants … otherwise America risks more jobs going overseas.