Early on in his State of the Union address, the President spoke about the need for cooperation between both parties during the upcoming budget negotiations. He pointed out that $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction has come through spending cuts, and that more will be needed on the tax revenue side to get to the desired $4 trillion goal.
This $4 trillion mark, which comes from economists on both sides of the aisle, is seen as being a good “down payment” on the nation’s debt. But what kind of editorial about Washington would this be without mentioning an impending budgetary fight? Another deadline is looming for Congress, and that deadline is the sequester date: March 1st. The so-called sequester is a group of large budget cuts ranging from defense all the way to nondiscretionary spending worth $1 trillion, taking effect over one year.
This possible reality of a massive cut across all aspects of the federal budget has serious implications for everyone with a loan from the federal government. If the sequester were to go into effect tomorrow, Department of Education would certainly not be spared; it would be expected to lose $725 million in Title I programs (for kids in families under the poverty line) and $598 million in aid for disabled students, public schools and schools under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense.
While these cuts do not directly affect the Deptartment’s ability to give out loans, less money would likely translate into a change in what qualifies to get a loan for higher education; many people who were able to get a federal loan before, in other words, may not be eligible this time around. Federal loans are a huge reason I, personally, can attend USF, and I know my story is not unique. These cuts to the Deptartment of Education may not seem too worrisome now, but with a string of budget battles in our foreseeable future, these present cuts could set a threatening precedent of budget slashing and would greatly affect the ability of many of us Dons (and many college students in general) to even hope of getting a decent, affordable college education.