How the Ryan Republican Budget Would Impact Financial Aid for Children of Same-Sex Parents
The latest report from the Center for American Progress, our parent organization, highlights how the federal budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would impact the higher education pursuits of those raised in gay or transgender families:
The Ryan budget also undermines many Americans’ hopes for a brighter future. Federal financial assistance is a crucial lifeline for students looking to pursue a higher education. In fact, the federal government provides more financial assistance for higher education than any other institution. In 2010 the Department of Education delivered more than $134 billion in loans, grants, and work-study funds to more than 14 million students attending more than 6,200 institutions. Additionally, state governments, public and private universities, and foundations provide billions of dollars in financial aid every year.
Sixty-six percent of all undergraduate students received some type of financial aid during the 2007-08 school year and the average amount of aid received by those students was approximately $9,100—with about $6,600 of that amount coming from federal sources. Consisting largely of federal assistance, financial aid packages can mean the difference between a college education and none at all.
Unfortunately, as with Medicaid and SCHIP, the federal government does not accurately capture the true economic reality of households headed by same-sex couples when calculating the amount of financial aid it will allocate. Because of restrictive laws that narrowly define what constitutes a family, spouses and children will not be included in the number of individuals that make up an applicant’s household. These laws also often exclude one partner’s income from total household income.
As with other government programs, how the FAFSA defines a family has important implications for the amount of federal aid applicants with same-sex parents will receive compared with similarly situated applicants with different-sex parents. Interestingly, some applicants with same-sex parents will actually benefit from these discriminatory laws and receive more aid than similar children with different-sex parents. Yet many others will receive substantially less financial aid for higher education than they would have otherwise received had their parents been heterosexual.
For these families, the Ryan budget will further diminish access to sorely needed aid to finance higher education. If House Republicans get their way, more than 1 million students would lose access to Pell Grants, which provide need-based grants to low-income students seeking higher education. This is because Rep. Ryan’s budget slashes Pell Grant funding by $200 billion in a shortsighted attempt to cut spending and trim the deficit. Rather than maintain or even increase funding in education, a crucial investment for our middle class, the Ryan budget strips educational opportunities from thousands of potential students. Many families headed by same-sex couples already have a difficult enough time becoming eligible for financial aid, including the Pell Grant program. Rep. Ryan’s budget makes a bad situation worse for these families.
Read more here.
Brian Stewart is the communications manager at Campus Progress.
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