SOUTH KINGSTOWN—Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse visited the University of Rhode Island on Friday to listen to students’ concerns about further cuts to Pell Grant funding for the next school year.
Whitehouse recently introduced a resolution in the Senate defending the Pell Grant and discouraging any cuts to the program. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
“We need to make it clear that we are going to stand up for our kids,” said Whitehouse. “I’ve met with students across Rhode Island who rely on Pell Grants to help them achieve the dream of a college education. This resolution sends a message that we will fight for those students and protect this vital program from irresponsible cuts.”
“We have a very significant budget problem, and there will have to be substantial cuts in various areas,” he added. “The desire to cut [Pell Grants] is very real, and I am trying to discourage Pell Grants being a part of that cut as much as I can.”
In the past year, House Republicans have introduced legislation which would cut Pell Grant funding by an average of $1,775 per student. The Hill, a congressional newspaper which publishes daily when Congress is in session, reported discontent among House conservatives when Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) introduced a debt bill in July which included $17 billion in supplemental spending for Pell Grants.
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