Sequestration equals funding castration
By Andy Garrison
February 18, 2013
The looming sequestration cuts flailing around in Washington could affect Western’s students more than they know. As a result of the battle over the debt ceiling, President Obama laid out an unusual threat to the budget to get his proposition through a Conservative congress. The threat is a massive cut in both military and domestic spending. Neither side really thought that the sequester would take place and believed that the president and congress could come to a compromise. Surprise, that does not seem to be the case and the sequester appears to be imminent. As it stands now, there will be an 8.2 percent cut to domestic discretionary spending, which makes up much of the higher-education budget. Thankfully, the Pell Grant will remain protected. However, a lot of other grants and student access programs will take a massive hit. We can also expect to see a rise in student loan origination fees. Federal funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA, can expect to see funding fall to a level that has not been seen in eight years. These cuts will probably also result in a loss of instructors at Western, and with fewer teachers, that could mean much larger classes and less time for those professors who remain to spend with each student worsening the overall learning environment. These cuts will probably affect maintenance and repair at Western as well. Most of our buildings on campus could really use some up-keep and restoration and cuts in our funding will probably result in even more deferred maintenance. Attending college and finding a way to pay for it is hard enough as it is. As students, the last thing that we need is bickering and poorly thought-out legislation to make it even harder. It seems like everyone running this country likes to talk a lot about higher education and how important it is for us to have a chance to go to college, to get a degree, to become productive citizens. When it comes down to it though, and there is this cut looming over us that could actually make it much harder for us as a national student-body to succeed, it appears that they are only interested in posturing. One has to wonder, is a disorganized government possibly the bullet that could put Western down?