The sequester – a series of automatic government spending cuts – went into effect Friday, March 1st, without any congressional action taking place to stop it.
But, how will the spending cuts affect students?
A sequester means severe cuts to government financial aid
, student aid, government provided funding for research programs and thousands of middle class jobs related to education.
The President referred to the lack of resolution and the resulting cuts as “just dumb,” during a press conference on Friday.
Without a resolution, the sequester could stay in place for weeks, months or, even, permanently.
As many as 280,000 students could lose federal funding they are currently receiving for college because of the sequester, as cited by the Huffington Post
The White House also estimates the job losses of several thousand researchers along with an estimation that fewer research grants would issued within the future, according to a fact sheet
released on February 8. Some research projects may even need to be cancelled all together.
If you’re concerned
about your position, that’s probably fair. It’s predicted that undergraduate research assistants will be the first to get axed in the rounds of cutbacks.
Thankfully, the cuts won’t impact student tuition rates or Pell Grants; however, they may impact the federal work study program and other scholarship
sources, which fall under the 8.2 percent of the provided funding for discretionary spending.
Many other critical cuts will fall under either the 8.2 percent category or another 7.6 percent cut to mandatory spending.
The changes will significantly impact both public and private universities. University officials aren’t exactly clear how and when this will impact their schools or exactly which programs have decreased funding or even be eliminated because, at this point, everything is pure speculation.
They do know, however, that cuts are inevitable and that it’s unlikely the schools
will be able to recover the funding gaps on their own. The consequences are clear: jobs will be lost and research will suffer.
Universities fear this will have a trickle down effect that may put our nation behind the curve for years, especially because bright, promising students may become lost in the shuffle.
Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, told the Chronicle of Higher Education
, that he believes sequestration "would have severe, long-term impacts that would put our nation at an extreme disadvantage for years to come."
Now that seems like a cut we really can’t afford to make.
What's are your thoughts on the sequester and its impacts on educational funding?