Pressure : 29.94 in
Dewpoint : 61.0 °
Wind : South
Students wait anxiously on decision to cut college funding
Colleges and universities across the country are waiting on pins and needles. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill that cuts the Pell Grant Program, beginning in July.
The bill is now in the Senate.
The Pell Grant is basically free money from the federal government to pay for higher education.
Students don't have to pay back the money, but they do have to meet income requirements. As you can imagine, hundreds of college students rely heavily on the Pell Grant.
Eric Pieper has a full schedule.
"I'm working two jobs right now just to make ends meet," said Pieper.
Eric's major expense? Central Community College in Hastings where he's studying to be an engineer.
"What I'm in is what I love to do so I really want to be in this field," said Pieper.
And he's getting help from the Federal government through the Pell Grant.
"It pays for half my college," Pieper said.
Roughly half the students at CCC in Hastings receive Pell grants.
At Hastings College, a third gets grant money. And at UNL 22-percent.
"A lot of students depend on it a lot for their educational expenses," said Financial Aid Director Vicki Kucera.
If the Senate approves an appropriations bill passed by the House then the maximum Pell grant would be sliced by $845. Dropping from $5,550 to $4,705. The average Pell grant would be cut by $785.
"Students may just have to find more personal dollars or take out more loan money," Kucera.
Or in Eric's case, work more.
"If they do decrease the Pell grants yes I'll probably have to keep both jobs somehow and still go to school," said Pieper.
Working two jobs now in hopes that one day down the road he'll land his dream job.
This academic year, nearly 40,000 Nebraska students received $132 million in Pell Grants.
So when will we find out for sure if the White House is cutting Pell Grant Funding?
The CCC Financial Aid Director, Vicki Kucera, says she doesn't know.
President Obama has proposed keeping the Pell Grant funds the same, meaning students would receive the same amount next school year as they did this year and that is what Kucera hopes to see happen.
KHASTV on Facebook