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Fiscal Cliff Could Have 'Devastating' Impact on Financial Aid for D.C. Students

11:25 PM, Nov 29, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- The fiscal cliff has left many college students and their parents on edge, worried about financial aid. Here in the District, 6,300 students could lose part of their Tuition Assistance Grant - or TAG - if Congress can't reach a compromise on time.
"The impact could be devastating," said Hosanna Mahaley Jones, DC State Superintendent of Education.

The program gives students in the District grants of up to $10,000 a year towards tuition for out-of-state public universities, and up to $2,500 a year for private universities in the D.C. area. If the fiscal cliff comes and goes with no deal, Jones says, "We would likely have to reduce the grants that they are receiving and they could see reductions of up to $1,000 each."

The even bigger issue, according to Jones, is the thousands of high school seniors that will graduate in the District this year.

"I can only imagine what it feels like to have gone to school for four years, done your best, and counted on a scholarship that now may not be available to the level that you expected," said Jones.

The Superintendent and her staff are already working on a backup plan. But the problem is, they don't like any of their options. They'll either have to reduce the amount of the grants or the number that they give out. So Jones has this message for the members of Congress still working to hash out a compromise:

"What I would say as they're making their decisions is to remember what it was like for their own children, or children in their families, as they we're preparing for college. It's a very special time and this would be an unnecessary burden," said Jones.

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