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Commentary By John DeGioia: Don't Cut Federal Student Aid

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As students across America await college admissions decisions, we must actively work together to help them afford to go. As a university president, I'm making sure we do our part. Now is the time for Congress to do theirs.

Student financial aid is truly a public-private partnership essential to helping our young people make the most of their promise and potential.

There is no question that serious action needs to be taken to reduce federal deficits and to put the nation on track to pay down the federal debt. But it makes little sense to slash programs -– like federal student aid –- that are key to building the future in an increasingly knowledge-based economy.

Families, especially in these difficult economic times, rely on federal student aid to help pay for their education. These resources are critical to make college a reality for millions of young people.

At Georgetown we're proud to provide more than $80 million of our own dollars to defray costs for nearly half of our undergraduates. We do this because we believe it's the right thing to do to help all students who are admitted to be able to afford to come. But we can't do it alone and include federal aid in more than 40 percent of our undergraduates' financial aid packages.

Long-proven federal student aid programs, including Pell grants and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG), provide resources for low- and middle-income students to pursue their educational dreams. Cuts to these programs would be ill-conceived and harmful to the nation's economic recovery, and they would undermine the partnership that has opened the doors of higher education to millions of Americans over recent decades.

It would be wrong to those young people for Congress to reverse course and make us take away or cut Pell or SEOG grants. It would also be wrong for the nation's future.

These programs are investments in the very people who will lead in tackling our nation's greatest challenges: national security, innovation and job creation. Their contributions -- and the taxes they will be paying -- are critical as well to ending deficits and then paying down the national debt.

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