789 billion reasons to care

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By Staff Editorial

By Staff Editorial

Bundled up to protect themselves from winter storms, many people waited for hours as lines stretched around the block, everyone hoping that they would be one of the chosen few.

While this may sound like something out of a Depression era story, this was the scene across the nation on Feb. 3 as Denny’s restaurants gave away free breakfasts.

As the economy continues to crumble and layoff numbers pile up, Americans wait for a solution to their problems.

It seems that relief will come in the form of the $789 billion economic stimulus package that was recently passed by Congress.

Though there are many questions surrounding the monetary breakdown of the economic bill, college students should pay particular attention to how it affects their college loans.

The package calls for a maximum Pell grant award of $5,350 for the 2009-2010 academic year. This is an increase of five hundred dollars, the largest ever.

This is a significant increase for college students, as it provides financial relief to those who are drowning in debt caused by student loans.

When doubled it adds up to $10,700, an amount which would pay for a large portion of the annual tuition at a four year college.

That much money towards tuition would give students a chance to breathe easier and concentrate on their studies instead of their wallets.

The bill also calls for grant programs to renovate and repair buildings on college campuses.

Everyone knows that many colleges are outdated and falling apart. An unfortunate side effect of this problem is that when buildings need to be fixed, the money almost always comes from cutting art programs.

Whether it’s music, drama or art, these classes are always the first to go. However, if colleges receive money from the government to make repairs, maybe these courses can be saved from the chopping block.

Another major program being affected by this bill is Social Security. Many economists believe that by the time our generation reaches retirement age, there will be no money left in the system. However, if some of the debt can be paid down there may be hope for the future of Social Security.

For these reasons students need to pay more attention to the details of this legislation.

Under its official name of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the stimulus package provides a laundry list of tax cuts and expenditures that is extremely difficult to read through and understand.

The average college student will find it very hard to get through the material.

However, we recommend that all students attempt to understand the bill, because the suggested programs directly affect not only their present but also their future.

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