Congressional Black Caucus Chair G. K. Butterfield (N.C.) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, along with D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, hosted this week a collaborative student roundtable at Howard University about the impact of sequestration on minority communities.
Of particular concern at the Tuesday event was the disproportionate impact arbitrary cuts will have on Pell Grant funding and other kinds of student financial aid.
According to a CBC statement, sequestration will cause automatic, across-the-board federal budget cuts which amount to cuts of nearly $3 billion to the country’s education funding.
“Some of our colleagues in Congress have an unrealistic and unworkable budget that will decimate funding at precisely the point when we need greater investment,” the statement read. “Future generations and their ability to access educational opportunities are simply the last place these cuts should be made. It is morally wrong to suggest we ask our students to carry the burden of deficit reduction.”
Sequestration would also cut jobs in education by reducing funding for teachers and staff, according to the CBC, which added that nearly 46 percent of black undergraduate students use Pell Grants to cover tuition costs.
Additional CBC statistics reveal that:
- more than 50 percent of black and 40 percent of Latino college students rely on Pell Grants;
- in 2008, 155,000 Pell recipients were enrolled at historically black colleges and universities;
- in 2008, 90 percent of students at just eight HBCUs received Pell Grants and 80 percent of students at 17 of the nation’s HBCUs received Pell Grants.