Friday, May 01, 2009

Federal student financial aid, thanks to President Obama's economic recovery package

For so many families, financial aid can mean the difference between a student becoming a college graduate or not. My dad - who was the first in his family to go to college - received financial aid to attend USC. I won a modest scholarship that helped me pay for some of my expenses while I was at Columbia.

Thanks to President Obama's economic recovery package, federal student aid programs are being expanded to serve potentially more than 1 million additional students nationwide, helping to make college more affordable in this down economy.

Today, I visited Bravo Medical Magnet High School along with my friend Los Angeles Unified School Board President Mónica García. More than 90 percent of last year's graduating class at Bravo went to college. This year's Student Body President, Priscilla (center in this photo along with her principal, Ms. Torres Flores), is headed off to college and will be the first in her family to attend college in the U.S. We want to get the word out to all L.A. students and families that help is available to make college more affordable.

We all know how important a college education is to the success of our young people and to our city’s future. We don’t want students to give up on a college education because of cost.

Increasing financial aid to make college more affordable was included as part of President Obama’s economic recovery package and is one of a number of initiatives implemented within his first 100 days in office to help families during this economic recession.

The federal stimulus package:

  • Increased the number and amounts of Pell Grants
  • Created American Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Increased Work Study funding
  • Allows 529 funds to be used to buy computers

Los Angeles students who want to learn more about financial aid opportunities can visit the L.A. Cash for College website.