Amid all the talk of bank bailouts and billion dollar deals for automakers, why should the average student consumer pay any attention to the new federal stimulus package? Isn’t that just for big companies that miscalculated their risky investments?
No! Recognizing that a well-educated workforce is one of the best ways to restart the economy, Congress and President Obama have agreed to invest substantially in new student financial aid funding. The Stimulus Package includes this very welcome news for Trinity Students:
- Pell Grants will receive a $17Billion boost, and the individual maximums on Pell Grants will increase to $5350 for the next academic year, and $5500 for 2010. This is huge, and for the nearly 60% of Trinity students who receive Pell Grants, the higher maximum levels are good news, indeed.
- College Opportunity Tax Credit of $2500 will make this credit more widely available to families who can take advantage of this pre-tax reduction in earned income.
- Work-Study funds will increase by $200 million, a welcome addition to a program that provides important supplementary income for our students.
The Stimulus Package also provides significant funding for educational programs that promote the Health Care workforce, so we’ll be looking closely at those opportunities as Trinity develops Nursing and more programs for the health professions.
While the final law did not provide much-needed money for “shovel-ready” construction projects on college campuses, the various discussions around the need for higher education to get more construction support laid a strong foundation for future discussions. Unfortunately, the combined size of the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) from last fall and the new Stimulus Package exceeds $1.5 Trillion, making new federal appropriations most unlikely anytime soon.
We’ll keep all Trinity students apprised of opportunities for additional funding as we come to a more complete understanding of the law that President Obama signed yesterday.