Students share sequestration frustration
In the next eight months, 4,720 low-income students in Texas will lose their financial aid, and another 1,450 students will either lose or be unable attain work-study jobs because of the sequester that went into effect Friday, according the whitehouse.gov.
The sequester, an $85 billion federal spending cut occurring through Oct. 1, is intended to reduce the gap between the nation’s deficit and gross domestic product by decreasing government agency and state budgets.
“These cuts were largely across the board, which essentially means that nearly every federal program or service, with a few exceptions, was evenly cut with no discretion,” said political science and economics senior Jorge Jerez.
“The effects will be considerable to those heavily invested in these programs.”
Funding for education will take a considerable amount of the damage across the nation, and Texas will likewise feel the impact of sequestration substantially as the fourth most affected state overall and the second most affected state for education funding cuts, behind California, according to calculations by the Pew Center on the States.
The Texas state budget may lose up to $334 million in cuts to public education programs and, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, the Texas Education Agency may lose grants totaling as much as $167.7 million.
The agenda will occur during the first phase of budget reductions and will last until October; yet sequestration is a 10-year plan that will cut spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade.
College students will begin to feel the strain of sequestration in the coming academic year. Although Pell Grants are exempt from cuts in the first year of the budget decreases, it is likely to experience reductions in the coming years, which can affect more than 9 million students nationwide, according to National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
“The effect will be brutal, but hopefully the universities will make changes to their budget to soften the blow,” Jerez said.
“I have studied in a program that has been cut by state funding before and though these cuts were noticeable, most students adapted to the change. I would have preferred for education to have been exempted in these cuts, but they occurred and I believe we are very resilient.”
The impact of the sequestration goes beyond student financial aid.
As a research university, our federal research contracts and grants will see a 5.1 percent reduction, said President and Chancellor Renu Khator.
Likewise, as students graduate in the coming years, searching for a job may become increasingly difficult. According to whitehouse.gov, assistance for job searching will lose more than $2.2 million in funding and more than 83,000 fewer people will get the help they need to find employment in just the first eight months of sequestration.
It has become clear that the federal cuts will affect current and future students, as well as new graduates, for years to come.
“It’s disappointing that the university hasn’t said more on this,” said history sophomore and Council of Ethnic Organizations office assistant Eric Kao.
“I just hope that our tuition isn’t increased to cope with these budget cuts.”