It is official: The sequester that cuts $1.2 trillion over nine years across various government agencies has been in effect since Friday. And of course, higher education is one of the agencies being impacted.
These cuts will harm students who receive financial aid through Federal Work Study, the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and eventually the Pell Grant. Student researchers will also be affected because federal research spending will be cut by billions of dollars.
A domino effect is bound to take place over the next few years. High school students will be applying to their colleges of choice, but will not get enough financial aid to attend. Therefore, they will opt to attend community college, which is less expensive. This, will in turn, overcrowd the already overcrowded classes. Let’s not forget that a bachelor’s no longer holds the same merit. Instead, college graduates are looking to pursue their education further and receive a master’s degree in order to be an employable candidate.
Current students will also be seeing less financial aid awards than they are used too. This means more loans and more debt. Or, dropping out if loans are not an option.
Research? Less of it. Much less of it. This leads to less discoveries and advancements in technology, medicine and other social sciences. There are no positive benefits coming out of this sequestration. There is nothing that can be done because President Barack Obama signed this bill into effect and the automatic cuts have already begun. Unfortunately, the Republicans and Democrats couldn’t come to a compromise. But that is nothing new.
College affordability is already a challenge for many prospective and current students. But higher education continues to be idealized even though the government is making it harder for anyone to attend.
With these cuts, individuals who want a degree but lack the resources will have even less of an opportunity. Many bank on financial aid to lead them through their educational path. Without money, they cannot attend school. But the government refuses to see this.
College is supposed to be an opportunity for all, not a privilege to some. If the government isn’t helping to make college affordable, there isn’t a point in emphasizing its importance.
Why emphasize a college degree if the means needed to attain it are slowly being stripped away from us?
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.