With the stock market dropping to new lows, massive layoffs, major deficits, and a mortgage crisis our new President decided that our economy needed a boost. After much scrutiny President Obama's stimulus plan was finally passed.
The plan promises the creation of 3 Million new jobs in the next two years. Engineering, information technology, nursing, and accounting are just a few of the fields that are predicted to see growth.
Even now that Obama's plan is in action many are unsure of how elements such as a Pell Grant increase of 15.6 Billion will help create these 3 Million jobs that are being promised.
A former Pell Grant recipient and current Seattle University graduate studnet, Patrick Bell, doesn't see the correlation between the increase in funding and job growth either.
"I don't see how boosting federal aid to college kids does anything to help immediately kick-start the economy. I'm all for long-term investment in education, but how does subsidizing someone's four-year college education help get the economy moving again right now?"
With the Chronicle of Higher Education predicting 62% of private colleges and 48% of public colleges expected to see drop outs in the next semester because of the financial crises some say the Pell Grant increase is a must to help perk up the economy.
"An increase in the Pell Grant could help stave off more dropouts in the fall semester -- and possibly get some of the students who left to return. That would be a quick economic stimulus that could have an immediate ripple effect, as schools might then hire more adjunct faculty while increasing the purchases of supplies and services from area businesses," reports DeWayne Wickham of USA Today.
With college dropouts flooding the already drowning job market, Pell Grant increase is the only way to even out the playing field, some argue.
"We are in the Great Depression II but this time we need to go back to school rather than pick up shovels," says Michael K. Clifford, an education entrepreneur. "As the economy continues to create real hardship for Americans, the Government must do more to help displaced workers get the training education they need. Their only hope in a better future can be restored through gaining new skills."
But will the Pell Grant increase last? It is only planned for the next two years many people are wondering if low-income students will be left high and dry at the end of the stimulus period or if the government will have to shovel out 15.6 billion dollars every year to keep up with funding demands. While others say any increase, long-term or short-term, is better than the Pell Grant policies of the past.
The New York Times reports, "Under the current system, college students in families with incomes low enough to qualify receive a Pell Grant, but the amount of the grant depends on how much Congress votes for the program, and in recent years that amount has not kept pace with inflation. The administration now proposes to guarantee not only that students will receive grants, but also that it will keep pace with inflation."
Supporters of the increase point out that Pell Grant funds doesn't only go to pay for school tuition but also to pay for living expenses. This money reaches the local market faster therefore boosting the economic landscape. But skeptics say the amount of the increase is too little, spread too thin to create jobs and impact the economy positively.
If promises were written in stone there wouldn't be as many skeptics of Obama's plan. The harsh reality of our economy fosters citizens that are hesitant to trust lawmakers. But how can we build a stronger economy without confidence in our leaders? President Obama's stimulus package requires the nation to put aside suspicions in our leaders and give the plan a chance to thrive so it can fulfill it's purpose of bettering our economic future.