Education seems to be a top priority for both the national and state governments.  The recently released Obama budget has made college education a focal point for the growth of America.  President Obama described these times ahead by titling his 2009-10 budget “A New Era of Responsibility.”

The President’s budget supplies students with additional financial aid funding through the use of Pell Grants and stabilized student loan programs.

The 2009-10 budget increases the maximum Pell Grant for each student from $4,731 to $5,350.

The budget states that, “Fourteen times since 1973, the maximum Pell Grant has failed to increase even in nominal dollars.”

The possible increase will be one that is a pivotal point in the advancement of higher education in the United States.

“To make sure that we have a highly-educated workforce and that the opportunity to go to college is not determined by how much money you have. We need to put the Pell Grant on sure footing,” the budget reads.

The President also proposes “using competitive, private providers to service loans.”  The approach will help save the federal government around $4 billion in the coming fiscal year.

Finally, Obama’s budget has plans for a Perkins Loan program which “also makes campus-based, low-interest loans more widely available” for college students.

The State of Pennsylvania also proposes new advancements toward higher education spending. Capital funding will double for PASSHE to $130 million during the 2009-10 budget year.

Presently, tuition for students at Millersville is, on average, $14,174 for in-state and $22,304 for out-of-state students.

Millersville, being a state-run university, has the opportunity to present students with a more affordable education than private colleges.

This idea is fostered by several individuals including New York Times reporter Tamar Lewin.  “Many students are looking at less-expensive state universities,” Lewin said.
Millersville University President, Dr. Francine McNairy, has set forth a number of cuts that will hopefully help ease the burden.

In an article published by the Lancaster Sunday News earlier this year, McNairy said the University plans to increase the operating budget by 2.5 percent while “cutting another 3 percent from department operating budgets, putting a hold on many capital construction projects and not fulfilling some vacant positions.”

Associate Director of Financial Aid Marcy Ashton was unsure of how enrollment would fall for Millersville.

“We might not suffer,” she said, but had an optimistic outlook for full enrollment entering the 2009-10 academic year.

Ashton brought up the need for students to be cognizant of their finances.  The website, which can be found on the financial aid web page, is a key source for students trying to maintain their finances adequately.

Sources like CashCourse and the possibility of the FAFSA being restructured, which is mentioned in Obama’s budget, can help students in the long run.

These variations can make for an easier experience for students when it comes to financial aid.

Though Millersville has shown some signs of the economic downturn, the opportunity for student financial aid seems to be reaching an all time high.