Beating the finance challenge

Beating the finance challenge

by Bailey HarrisStaff Writer

There is no arguing that the national economy is facing hard times and that revitalizing it will force both the state and federal governments to make some tough decisions.

Governor Chet Culver recently announced a 10 percent across-the-board budget cut to make up for the more than eight per-cent loss in revenue this year. Among those programs cut, by $4.7, was the Iowa Tuition Grant.

Tracie Pavon, assistant vice president & director for Financial Assistance, sat down with me to discuss this issue, and says that we won’t know exact amounts until all schools have turned in rosters of their grant recipients, which Simpson College has already done.

“We will email all ITG recipients within two hours of receiving the numbers,” Pavon said.

This cut will significantly affect each of the more than 700 Simpson recipients of the ITG, as they stand to lose between $300 and $400 towards this spring’s tuition.

That amount may not seem that large overall, but it’s a lot for a college student to cover, and those who can’t cover it will be scrambling to find loans.

Government officials should remember that economic hardships affect the individual as well as the government, and that times are tough for Iowa students.

As increasing numbers of students are forced to turn to loan companies to fund their education, it has become harder to find the loans they need.

US Bank, Simpson’s largest single lender for federal student loans, pulled out of the federal loan market completely, and Bank of America recently followed suit.

While there are still private loans available, their credit standards, fees and interest rates are much higher, and a majority of them require a parent or adult to cosign, which can make it nearly impossible for some students to find the right loan.

In a budget address Culver gave when he first took office, he made a promise to improve the tuition grant, according to the speech transcript from the Des Moines Register.

“…for Iowa high school graduates who attend one of Iowa’s 31 private colleges, we will increase the amount of the highly successful Iowa Tuition Grant,” Culver said.

He also admitted that Iowa has one of the highest amounts of student debt, but one of the lowest amounts of need-based aid. Students should be holding their legislators accountable.

It may be too late for this round of cuts, but in order to prevent further cuts and to restore next year’s tuition grant to its original value, the government must realize the impact of their decisions.

Find your legislator at and remind them of the importance of your education.