SMU may need to reconsider how many students will come to campus on federal and state-funded scholarships next year, according to President R. Gerald Turner.
The SMU Board of Trustees met last week, primarily discussing proposed reductions in need-based financial aid in the state and federal budget cuts. The federal government has recommended lowering Pell grants, which are federal grants for students of high need, by 20 percent.
SMU receives about $4 million for Pell grants, which supported 940 of our students this year. With the federal budget proposal under H.R. 1, this would be a reduction close to $800,000.
“I was asking them, as they know our congressman and senators, to mention our concern,” Turner said. “Because most people don’t know that we really have a lot of diversity on this campus and that these are students whose total family income is less than $40,000.”
Turner believes the discussion on budget was more important this time than other times.
“Sometimes it’s easy just to hear, ‘well, there are going to be budget cuts,’ but when it comes down to what it means, you know, right here that it means a million in need-based support and federal if that goes through.”
A state proposal may impose a 40 percent cut on the Texas Tuition Equalization Grants (TEG), a need-based grant for Texas students. SMU receives about $6 million from the TEG for nearly 1,500 students.
“What we did was give out all of this information and for every trustee that was a Texas resident, ‘here’s your legislator, here’s your senator, would you write or call them?'” Turner said.