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College Costs Rising With Cuts In Pell Grants [AUDIO]

Larry Smith, Getty Images

A college tuition is getting further and further out of reach for many students across the nation, as Congress recently moved ahead with changes to federal student aid. Jen Kim, an advocate with New Jersey’s Public Interest Research Group, says there will be some big changes to the federal student loan program known as Pell grant awards, “About 143,000 students will lose their pell grant funding altogether this year.”

The good news is that the Pell grants have been set at the highest level ever for 2012. The bad news is that it will be tougher for some students to be eligible, with a cut in the number of years they can receive Pell grant money and a temporary elimination of a six month grace period on interest loan payments.

“That’s an unfortunate move on Congress’ part for students that are struggling to get an education.”

But each year lawmakers have had to search for ways to keep the program afloat. This year thousands will lose their funding. “And the eligibility cuts will apply to all students as of July 1st, 2013, even students who are already enrolled in the program,…so it’s really hurting a lot of people here.”

Kim says Congress needs to focus its efforts on trying to keep college more affordable for our nation’s students in these troubling economic times.

“Its so important for students…that we think Congress should prioritize trying to protect that funding for college students.”

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