In a laughable attempt to cover up her terrible record on college affordability, Kelly Ayotte introduced a new bill that has been called a “handout to the loan industry.” The senator apparently hopes New Hampshire voters will pay more attention to that bill than her actual record.
And let’s be real. Ayotte’s record on college affordability is insulting to borrowers with student loans and students trying to afford a college education with the help of Pell Grants.
Ayotte has voted multiple times to cut funding to Pell Grants. She skipped voting on a bill that would have made a huge difference to borrowers with student loans. Instead of providing much needed support to families and students in New Hampshire and across the country, Ayotte is helping special interests and big banks.
2013: Ayotte Voted To Cut Pell Grant Funding As Part Of A Proposed Repeal Of The ACA And The 2010 Reconciliation Act. In March 2013, Ayotte voted for an amendment that, according to Huffington Post, “sought to ‘establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.’” According to The New York Times, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 “eliminate[d] fees paid to private banks to act as intermediaries in providing loans to college students and use much of the nearly $68 billion in savings over 11 years to expand Pell grants and make it easier for students to repay outstanding loans after graduating.” The amendment was to the Senate Budget for FY 2014. The vote was on the amendment, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 45 to 54. [Senate Vote 51,3/22/13; Huffington Post, 3/22/13; New York Times, 3/30/10; Congressional Actions, S.Amdt.202]
2013: Ayotte Voted For Freezing Pell Grants At 2012-2013 Levels For The Next 10 Years As Part Of The FY 2014 Ryan Budget. In March 2013, Ayotte voted for cutting spending on Pell Grants, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2014 to 2023. According to the House Budget Committee, “The Department of Education attributed 25 percent of recent program growth to the $619 increase in the maximum award enacted in the stimulus bill that took effect in the 2009–10 academic year. To get program costs back to a sustainable level, the budget recommends maintaining the maximum award for the 2012–2013 award year of $5,645 in each year of the budget window.” The vote was on the House Republicans’ fiscal year 2014 budget resolution, which Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray offered as a substitute amendment to the Senate’s fiscal year 2014 budget resolution. The Senate rejected the amendment by a vote of 40 to 59. [Senate Vote 46, 3/21/13; House Budget Committee, 3/12/13]
- Ryan’s Budget Ended The Entitlement Portion Of Pell Grants, Meaning That The Actual Amount Available For Pell Grants Each Year Would Depend On The Congressional Appropriations Process. According to the House Budget Committee, “This award would be fully funded through discretionary spending.” [House Budget Committee, 3/12/13]
2012: Ayotte Effectively Voted To Cut Spending On Pell Grants, Making 1 Million Students Ineligible As Part Of The FY 2013 Ryan Budget. In May 2012, Ayotte effectively voted to cut spending on Pell Grants, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2013 to 2022. According to the House Budget Committee, the budget “puts Pell on a sustainable path by limiting the growth of financial aid and focusing it on low income students who need it the most.” According to U.S. News and World Report, “Under the Ryan budget, more than 1 million students would no longer be eligible for Pell grants in the next decade, according to Education Trust, and those who did qualify would receive less aid.” The vote was on a motion to proceed to consider the House-passed budget resolution, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 41 to 58. [Senate Vote 98, 5/16/12; House Budget Committee, 5/20/12; U.S. News and World Report, 9/5/12; Congressional Actions, H.Con.Res. 112]
- The Budget Tightened Eligibility For Pell Grants, Reduced The Amount Of Income That Could Be Used For Living Expenses, Capped The Maximum Grant Level And Made Students Attending College Less Than Half-Time Ineligible.According to U.S. News and World Report, “There’s no doubt that the ‘Ryan budget,’ the fiscal year 2013 budget resolution passed by the House, would severely diminish Pell grants. It would lower the income level at which students qualify for an automatic maximum grant, create a maximum income to be eligible for a grant, reduce the amount of income a student or family can keep to cover minimal living expenses before being expected to contribute toward college costs, freeze the maximum grant at the fiscal year 2012 level of $5,550, and make students attending school less than half-time ineligible for grants.” [U.S. News and World Report, 9/5/12]
- Ryan’s Budget Ended The Entitlement Portion Of Pell Grants.According to U.S. News and World Report, “It would also end the entitlement portion of the program, which is designed to ensure funding is automatically allocated for every student who qualifies for a Pell grant, opening the door for future cuts.” [U.S. News and World Report, 9/5/12]
2011: Ayotte Effectively Voted For FY 2012 Ryan Budget, Which Cut Spending On Pell Grants To Pre-Stimulus Levels. In May 2011, Ayotte effectively voted for cutting spending on Pell Grants, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2012 to 2021. According to the House Budget Committee, the budget would “Return Pell grants to their pre-stimulus levels to curb rising tuition inflation and make sure aid is targeted to the truly needy.” The vote was on a motion to proceed to consider the House-passed budget resolution, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 40 to 57. [Senate Vote 77, 5/25/11; House Budget Committee, 4/5/11]
- Ryan’s Budget Would Have Cut Pell Grants To About $16.3 Billion For FY 2012.According to The Washington Times, “The proposal calls for reducing Pell Grant spending to ‘pre-stimulus levels,’ cutting the annual federal allocation by about half. In 2008, the federal government appropriated $16.3 billion to Pell Grants, according to the Department of Education. The Obama administration wants $41.2 billion for the program in its 2012 budget.” [The Washington Times, 4/5/11]
- Supporters Claimed That Cutting Pell Grants Would Slow Tuition Increases And “Make Sure Aid Is Targeted To The Truly Needy.”According to The Washington Times, “Republicans argue that cutting Pell Grant spending would ‘curb tuition inflation and make sure aid is targeted to the truly needy,’ citing the fact that the explosion in grant funding has been matched by tuition hikes at colleges and universities.” [The Washington Times,4/5/11]
Ayotte Voted To Cut Maximum Pell Grant Amount By $845. In March 2011, Ayotte voted against the Senate Democrats’ plan for funding the government through fiscal year 2011, which, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee, “maintains the maximum Pell award level of $5,550.” By contrast, the committee stated, “The House Republican CR slashes the maximum annual Pell Grant award by $845 to $4,705, a 15 percent cut below the current maximum of $5,550.” The amendment failed by a vote of 42 to 58. [Senate Vote 37, 3/9/11; Senate Appropriations Committee, 3/4/11]
Published: Oct 6, 2015