Sen. Roy Blunt discusses financial aid increase
COLUMBIA – Sen. Roy Blunt met with educators, students and city officials on Wednesday to talk about federal funding for college students.
Blunt spoke with representatives of local colleges about students being awarded Pell Grants to help pay for their tuition, books and other fees.
“One out of three Missouri college students gets a Pell Grant. Some institutions have a much higher percentage than that,” Blunt said.
Blunt is the chairman of a Senate subcommittee that funds the Department of Education, and helped increase the maximum funding of Pell Grant by three percent in 2018. The maximum funding for the Pell Grant is $6,095.
In 2017 Pell Grants were able to be used year round for the first time, allowing students to use the grant during summer session.
Blunt said Pell Grants have allowed first generation college students, students paying for their own education, and adults returning to school to receive an education.
“It makes a dramatic difference in the likelihood you’ll complete your higher education if your able to stick with a pattern that’s working until you get that degree in your hand and walk across the stage having accomplished what you have intended to accomplish,” Blunt said.
President of Columbia College, Scott Dalrymple said he was aided by the Pell Grant when he was a college student.
“To the students there’s hope, I received the Pell Grant in college and it really helped me, so there is hope,” Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple said 71 percent of Columbia College students receive Pell Grant funding.
President of Stephens College, Dr. Dianne Lynch said the Pell Grant is an example of innovation.
“As providers of educational opportunity, this allows us to say yes to students who have different kinds of needs,” Lynch said.
Blunt was also asked about the ongoing investigation of Governor Eric Greitens, and said he will let the process play out.
“I actually have faith in the process working and the people having the chance to get all the information out there they need,” Blunt said. “Let this process work, there is a legal process here, there’s a legislative process.”
Furthermore, Blunt said he has not rushed to call for resignation in the past with cases like Kathleen Sebelius and Eric Holder, and currently does not plan to do so with Greitens.
“I have seldom done that (made a call for resignation) and I’m comfortable with where I am on that and my position is pretty consistent on this issue,” Blunt said.