This slip inserted into a college financial aid office offer letter is the first evidence I’ve seen of the dreaded sequester. I know that many of you have already been affected, but as the common middle-class suburb dweller who doesn’t rely on federal contracts and hasn’t wanted to visit the White House, this warning that loan fees, work study and grants might be reduced is the first real clue that something’s going on that might actually affect my life. I would expect that this is fairly typical–the press in DC acted as if the world would end on March 1 but what’s really happening is a slow, steady, grinding, ugly process as federal agencies start to re-budget and warn their constituents.
I worked in a financial aid office in a red state university for a while, and many of the work study students I knew were not products of grinding poverty. Like a lot of lower-middle-class families, their parents didn’t exactly live paycheck-to-paycheck, but they had little savings and lots of bills, so their kids were eligible for a fair bit of financial aid, including work study. I’m sure many of those parents voted straight Republican tickets, and I’ll bet they see work study as the perfect financial aid program: kids work for their school in return for an education. The name “Federal Work Study”, and the subsidy it implies, probably never penetrated their consciousness, until now. I wonder how long their Republican representatives think they can hide out in DC and avoid angry town hall meetings with those parents.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
There will be no angry town hall meetings because the people involved will never connect the dots. The news they listen to doesn’t cover any of this.
@Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: Actually having insurance makes them take it for granted and helps them believe the right wing lies.
Facing a fact the right wing lies about that is messing up THEIR life? Might be a wake up call.
What part of #OBAMAQUESTER do you not understand?
(Is it the pound sign? Because that confuses me too, but apparently it’s what all the baggy-pants hip-hopper kids are doing these days.)
Are there still poors and browns to blame? Yes? Then the wake up call will not come.
Don’t be ridiculous. When they notice the aid has been cut, it will be because the Kenyan Usurper in the White House took that money and gave it to a bunch of undeserving blah people for free cell phones and health care.
This is interesting
A Simple Way to Send Poor Kids to Top Colleges
I work at a university up in Maine and have seen the effects of cuts in work-study in recent years. We now no longer support very many graduate students on work-study for instance and undergraduates have been cut into. Most of our student population is working class and low income first generation students. This kind of hit directly translates into lost college opportunities for people.
But of course, what’s a few eggs broken in an austerity omelette?
The most we can do is to reiterate, clearly and resolutely, that the sequester is solely the fault of Republicans.
Based on past experience, however, I think we won’t be able to do that much.
I work for the military, and the effects are being felt strongly, more every week. The culmination is going to be the furlough. And, as has already been mentioned, my Republican colleagues know exactly who to blame: Obama.
I’ve already heard about 5-7 furlough days where I work. It will be weeks, but I think as soon as things really slow down, the days will come. Of course there are questions: who will have to actually take those days, when will they be, will they simply cut shifts? Who knows?
It will be slow because of the Continuing Resolution, but there’s only so much money to go around.
That was my first thought too. For, oh, 30+ years working-class whites have been blaming their problems on minorities who obviously are on Easy Street.
The reaction from Republican congress critters I’ve heard so far is “Hey, you weren’t supposed to cut any programs that affected people in MY district. Obviously these aren’t smart cuts and you should be cutting waste and fraud.”
I don’t know if that message is succeeding in the red districts.
“what’s really happening is a slow, steady, grinding, ugly process as federal agencies start to re-budget and warn their constituents.”
Isn’t that the actual problem? That organizations who KNEW that this was going to impact them made no peep at all and are only now letting people feel the first signs of actual impact? Imagine if these organizations had warned about this months ago and had let people know about these consequences, perhaps those people would have been up in arms before this kind of idiocy got implemented?
Big banks blame uncertainty for no lending money to regular people. You have a lot more uncertainty that they do. It just makes life harder.
c u n d gulag
Minorities, and us poor folks who ain’t minorities – we have it too, too good!
Excuse me, my Butler just told me my breakfast of lobster, caviar, chilled champagne, and bon-bon’s is ready.
Well, we have not sent any messages like this. We have no idea what aid may be cut or if it even will. What they are discussing, FWS and SEOG and also the Perkins Loan, are what is called campus based aid, which has always been separate and different from other aid like Pell Grants or Stafford Loans. And have always had less funding. The funding has been dropping precipitously for at least a decade now. At my university, we have provided institutional funding, both university-wide and campus-based, to supplement the lost funding in those programs. We have our own tuition assistance grant we give to SEOG-eligible students after the federal funds have run out. My campus’ chancellor provides a fund to hire student employees to supplement our FWS dollars.
Campus based aid is an odd duck in that it is not awarded directly to students like Pell or Staffords. It is awarded to participating schools in a lump sum, which we can divvy up as we see fit within certain set parameters. And it has been a particular target of the congressional GOP.
As for the increase in loan costs, it’s not an interest increase, so that note actually seems a bit misleading, unless I missed something. The Stafford origination fee is going from about 1% or so to 2% or so. A one-time fee that comes off the top of the disbursement. Not great, but not the worst thing that could have happened.
@CarolDuhart2: I am a GS employee as well, and we’ve heard numbers all over the map, but I think we’re going to end up with 14 days. Our household will do OK, we’re not close to the edge, but I am concerned about those who are.
During coverage of this nonsense I found out about the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund who are expecting to be overwhelmed with requests for emergency aid. I had been wondering if there was a way to take a slightly deeper cut to help ease the pain of somebody else’s cuts, the way many employers let you donate extra vacation or sick leave to other employees.
These guys give me a way to do that. I never knew they existed before a month or so ago.
Okay, correction…went back and read again and it’s not misleading. I read it wrong the first time. But I still have qualms about putting a somewhat fear mongering note into an award package. Not that I wouldn’t be up front about whatever the effects of the sequester will be, but I think that calls for a conversation with families and not this. And a school should be prepared to financially support awards they’ve offered, even if it hurts the bottom line a bit. In the end, you’ll probably get it back in tuition payments from less needy students and needy students get the funds they need.
My friend who’s an FBI agent was notified that they all have to take a day off without pay once every pay period, ie once every two weeks. But there’s some requirement that they be given 30 day notices for furloughs so those days off don’t start for another couple of weeks yet. I’ll bet there’s lots of federal workers in the same boat.
BTW, this person does counter terrorism. Thanks a lot, GOP.
Culture of Truth
They will just blame Obama because DUCK PENIS
c u n d gulag
Hey, what make you think they’re NOT praying every waking moment for another 9/11 to happen on that KenyanSocialistFascistCommnunistMuslimAtheist “Blah” Usurper’s watch?
Gross generalization, but hope you see where I’m going with it:
The parents? They’re too busy working second and third jobs and too frazzled and bone tired when not laboring.
Now, as to the retired grandparents (and great-grands), that’s another story….
I don’t know what else agencies could have done. The president, who sometimes sorta attracts media attention, was out taking about it every day for weeks, as were members of Congress. Plus, you know, there was a bit of media attention when the sequester deal was cut, voted on and signed into law.
Complaining now about lack of attention is pointless. The real messaging war now is which party can hang the sequester around the other party’s neck. If that war isn’t won by Democrats this summer and fall, then we are well and truly fucked.
The Democrats need to point out that at the GOP’s long and loud insistence, we’ve already had in the neighborhood of $3 trillion in cuts since 2010. That’s enough cutting, and now is the time to create jobs by making public investments, shore up social security and Medicare and expand benefits, and get the fucking government out of people’s sex and reproductive lives. Keep it clear and simple and give people a call to action to rally round.
Alas, Democrats are not too good at manipulating the media, so we are probably just fucked until we really hit bottom. History proves that most people won’t give a shit until their slice of the pie shrinks and they are personally hitting the shitter (see Depression, Great) and swirling the bowl. I think, unfortunately, we are on that path, where it is gonna have to get a lot worse before we can seriously start to address our problems.
@c u n d gulag
Obligatory Godwinism: Well, the Reichstag (now officially the Bundestag) is back up and running….
@IowaOldLady: The husband of a friend of mine is a rocket scientist for the Dept of Defense, his whole program is at risk, but for now he’s “just” getting furloughed. They’re really glad now they picked a cheaper apartment when they relocated to the DC area.
@Maude: Maude, it’s probably even worse for me. I’m a seasonal, and I just got a letter saying my unemployment would be cut 10%. Hoping my season is long enough to take only a minor cut to my income.
Thanking God that Obama’s President. His appointees are trying to cushion the blow, and he’s fighting back. Romney would be eagerly slashing everything, furlough or no furlough, and shredding the safety net without a tear.
The craziest thing is that when I hear GOP congresspeople talking about the sequester cuts, it’s as though they don’t understand what they voted on. What part of across the board cuts is hard to grasp?
The problem is that people who watch Fox News or listen to right wing talk radio don’t connect the dots – and they blame Obama. It is all Obama, Obama, Obama … all his fault that we can’t have nice things.
Since sequestration was Obama’s idea, which he forced menacingly on helpless Republicans in Congress, isn’t it obvious he’s using his powers of executing the sequestration to maximize damage to Republican districts for political gain?
I mean really, why blame helpless Congressmen, who had this shoved down their throats by Obama?
The real blame lies at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where the White House continues to be defiled by someone, who doesn’t share our values.
(As long as the above argument can be made, your notion it’ll effect Republicans is moot).
Democrats are plenty good at manipulating the media. If it’s straight up talking to reporters that mattered and getting a statement out through the press Democrats would do just fine.
The problem is Democrats just don’t own much of it, unlike Republicans, who have Clear Channel, Fox News, The Washington Times, the Weekly Standard, the Heritage Foundation, etc.
It’s hard to manipulate media outlets, whose reason for being exists to squash you out of existence.
This then leaves a handful of non-Republican outlets like CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, etc. that get flooded with “information” fed up to them by the Republican news outlets, while the Democrats don’t have that sort of media clout to push out their message.
@IowaOldLady: A friend who works for the National Guard has been told to expect a 45-day notice (Pennsylvania state requirement) that will cut his hours and pay 20%. He’s got toddlers, a wife, and a mother dependent on him and barely gets by now, so I’m accumulating work around the house I’d pay him for, to help him continue to get by.
This. If I hear “why doesn’t Obama day X” one more time, I swear someone’s getting hurt.
So, when do they start rounding up the economic terrorists on the Right side of the aisle?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Tom Brokaw and David Gregory are full on “the Poors must feel pain” douchebags. Ed Rendell, whom I am growing to hate with a hotter intensity almost daily, was on MSNBC last week saying with a straight face that he talks to a lot of CEOs through his work with “Fix The Debt”, and this economy won’t get moving until we make some tough choices on entitlements, then he pretty much told Joy Reid she was the problem with Democrats. On a recent Face the Nation, Bob Woodward cited Newt Gingrich as an authority, and turned to Condi Rice for confirmation, that all this gridlock is due to Obama’s lack of outreach. Jake Tapper (I’ll use him for ABC and CNN, neither of which I really watch) famously scolded Obama for inaction on gun safety, but I didn’t hear a word from him, or anyone on his brunch guest list, mention that the recent filibuster of Caitlin Halligan for a top appellate court spot, which happened because the NRA gave orders to John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and all the other Senate moochers who stuck Obama with a big dinner tab.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I think to get to the top, you have to accept the fact there will be winners and losers. The winners are like you,who got promotions and plum assignments and losers, who didn’t.
I really think this attitude of winners and losers is reflected in guys like Brokaw and Gregory and other talking heads, because they assume people who have invested millions to push an agenda are the winners, who should be listened to because they are getting their message out, while the others aren’t as successful and so should be scorned.
Truth, reality, facts, etc. are irrelevant to making sure you stay on the good side of the winners, which is the underlying basis of all the good things you have in life.
I haven’t gotten a letter like that yet but it makes me glad I got on my accountants ass about filing soon enough that I could get my corrected FAFSA in before my campus priority aid cutoff date. My wife thought I was nuts, I’ll have to show her this article.
“We’d love to, Congressman, but unfortunately it’s unconstitutional for us to just fire your obstructing ass.”
So true. I think that goes in the crime division and just this morning I was raving to Mr IOL about how disgraceful it was that those thieves still walk the street.
Workstudy is well in the mid-tier of aid. It’s basically a matching program with the institution, who gets good labor at low rates. We pay ~$4/hr out of our operating budget, the institution kicks in a little more, and the feds cover the rest. All the money goes to the students aid package, which covers room and board and books and whatnot.
Lots of students that wouldn’t qualify for grants get workstudy.
Summer financial aid has been cut for some of us, too.
@Don K: 40+ by my recollection….