What sequestration could mean for Iowa college students - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

What sequestration could mean for Iowa college students


If Congress doesn't act before Friday, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts will go in effect and impact many Iowans.

With the so called "sequestration" deadline approaching, one group worried about the cuts includes college students.

An estimated 2,370 college students in Iowa would not receive financial aid and work-study jobs are on the line for another 1,020 students. Those who benefit from these programs say without them, they couldn't go to college.

Bruce Payne is a senior at Mount Mercy University. He's held work study jobs all four years to help pay for his education.

"Having that ability to be on campus and not having to spend any other money traveling to my job, would have definitely made it difficult," said Payne.

Future students might not be as lucky as Payne. Unless congress acts soon, automatic spending cuts will reduce the number of work study jobs available.

There will also be less Federal financial aid, one of the first resources university officials look at when they're helping students find ways to fund their education.

"The federal student loans are going to be a better option than some of the private student loans because they do come at a lower interest rate," said Bethany Rinderknecht, Director of Financial Aid at Mount Mercy University.

Uncertainty over whether the funds will be there in the future has prospective students nervous.

"That's always a concern," said Chris Roling, Financial Aid Counselor at Mount Mercy University. "It's one of the things. Are the loans going to keep being available? What's the interest rate? Is the interest rate going to change?"

Without the help of the Federal government, students like Payne wouldn't be able to pay for school.

"It would have made things very difficult if I would have been able to at all," said Payne.

There's some good news for current and future college students. Pell Grants are exempt from sequestration. Those grants, unlike students loans, do not have to be repaid

The U.S. Department of Education is the largest provider of student aid. Each year it provides more than $150 billion worth of funds to more than 15 million students.

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