My friend over at Entry Level Living wrote an excellent article on how certain line items in the stimulus plan will effect Gen-Y. Some of the key take-aways I felt were from job training and higher education:
Job Training: the goal of the stimulus is to create jobs, this job training will help ensure Echo Boomers will have the required skill sets to get some of those jobs. $4 billion for job training including :
- $1.2 billion to create up to one million summer jobs for youth
- $50 million to expand Youth Build (provides jobs for low-income youths in constructing low-income housing)
- Pell Grants: $15.6 billion to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500, from $4,850 to $5,350.
- College Work-Study: $490 million to support undergraduate and graduate students who work.
- $6 billion for higher education modernization
- Student Loan Limit Increase: Increases limits on unsubsidized Stafford loans by $2,000.
- Student Aid Administration: $50 million to help the Department of Education administer surging student aid programs while navigating the changing student loan environment.
Here’s where I get on my soapbox…
The purpose that the stimulus plan serves is to create jobs, unfreeze the loan market, and instill consumer trust and get them buying again – all as quickly as possible. Therefore I do not believe that $15.6B for Pell Grants belongs in the stimulus. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for making higher education more accessible, shoot I hate having college loans. However, an increase of $500/grant/person is drop in the bucket when students are facing mounting student loans of $100K+. Moreover, this increase has no immediate fallout. It will help individuals get a four year degree, but we’re in a recession NOW.
Here’s what that $15.6B should be put towards, because it would be far more effective. Instead of giving that $15.6B away in federal Pell Grants, add it to the $6B set aside for higher education modernization, and then make that $21.6B total now available ONLY to students in the form of work-study compensation. Pay students to renovate their campuses with government money. This creates IMMEDIATE jobs for Gen-Y as they struggle to pay for school, it effectively helps modernize our state universities, and it makes higher education more accessible to those who are willing to participate in the work-study program. Granted, some of the workers would have to be more experienced workers who could train Gen-Y to give them the necessary skill sets required for the labor, but you get the gist of it.