Resources & Publications

Two Critical Decisions This Month Will Determine Future of Low-Income Programs

Nov 02, 2011

By Vickie Choitz

The trick-or-treaters have come and gone, but chilling days might be ahead for federal programs that help low-income Americans. November includes two important dates on which we could see devastating cuts in these programs, including Pell Grants and workforce funding.

On November 18, the continuing resolution funding the federal government thus far in Fiscal Year 2012 expires. It is uncertain whether Congress will pass an appropriations bill or another continuing resolution, but we do know that postsecondary education, training, and workforce programs are prime targets in the proposed House draft FY 2012 Labor Health and Human Services appropriations bill. In contrast, the Senate FY12 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill reported out by the committee funds workforce programs and fully funds the Pell Grant program.

Another foreboding day is November 23, the date by which the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, informally known as the Super Committee, must vote on a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade. Here, too, federal programs to help low-income families, including postsecondary education, training, and workforce programs may be on the chopping block.

CLASP and our partners are educating members of Congress about why these programs are critical for helping low-income people attain postsecondary training and credentials to access good jobs and careers. Members of Congress are more interested in hearing from their constituents. You can help support efforts to preserve federal funding for the Pell Grant, adult education, workforce, and other education and training programs by:


  • Forwarding this update
  • Tweeting about the importance of Pell Grants and workforce programs. This week is Save Pell Social Media Week, and sample tweets and Facebook posts can be foundhere.
  • Write your Senators and Representative about the importance of preserving funding for these programs, especially in these hard economic times. Contact information can be found here:
  • Under the House draft appropriations bill over 500,000 students will lose Pell eligibility next year; see how many will lose Pell in your state.
  • Work with one to three students or workers you know who have benefitted from these programs and help them share their stories with their senators and representatives. Students love to be part of democracy in action! (Also, share the stories with CLASP.)

We relish the thought of giving thanks later this month for a Congress that protects hard-working, low-income Americans during these difficult budget negotiations.



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