The Tea Party opposes Pell grants, and this really is not a big surprise to those familiar with Tea Party values. In their mind, no one needs an education unless they have the cold hard cash to pay for it upfront.
Some house Republicans and devout Tea Party members are equating Pell grants to “welfare.” Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) said, “so you can go to college on Pell grantsÂ—maybe I should not be telling anybody this because it’s turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century.” Rehberg went on to say, “you can go to school, collect your Pell grants, get food stamps, low-income energy assistance, Section 8 housing, and all of the sudden we find ourselves subsidizing people that don’t have to graduate from college.”
As America is in economic crisis, a large majority of citizens do not have tens of thousands of dollars to throw around to get the degree they desire or need to better their lives. Pell grants will not pay the entire balance of someone’s college tuition, but it can help to put a good dent in it. However, the Tea Party opposes Pell grants, and if they have their way, they will knock out all, or a large portion, of the $17 billion that is in the nation’s budget as supplemental spending for these grants.
$5,500 is the maximum yearly amount for the Pell grant for students who qualify. “UMKC research has shown that students who receive Pell grants are 25 percent more likely to graduate,” reports Mara Rose Williams of The Kansas City Star.
So, no, Mr. Rehberg, not welfare, but an investment in the future leaders of this country. The Tea Party opposes Pell grants, but many, if any, of the Tea Party members have likely ever known what it is like to fill out a FAFSA or need a grant to pay for college. It is really easy to judge when they have not walked even a few feet in the shoes of the students who rely on the Pell grant to get an education.