As the weeks go on, the fall season starts to officially make its mark: leaves start to change colors, the weather starts to get cooler and football season has officially begun.
An even more significant event will take place early this November: the midterm elections for the United States Senate, which could lead to a Republican dominated House of Representatives and Senate.
So what does this mean in the grand political scheme? Besides the fact that the current Congressional Approval Rating for the current Congress is absolutely horrid, due in part to political gridlock by a Republican dominated House of Representatives and a Democratic controlled Senate, there could be even more political gridlock between the President Obama and both the House and Senate should the Republicans gain the upper hand.
If the Republicans do gain control of both the House and Senate, then it can be assumed that almost any bill or law that Obama tries to pass will instantly be shot down to the lack of bipartisan political unity that has not been seen for a while in Washington D.C.
As of now, nine seats in the Senate are, for a lack of a better term, “up for grabs,” since it cannot be determined who has the upper hand. If the Republicans can obtain at least six of these seats, then they will control both of the houses.
Now, while trying to keep my own political agenda out of the piece, a Republican dominated Senate and House could be seen as being extremely detrimental to many students, including those at Stony Brook University.
If you are not too familiar with politics, it is normally said that Democrats like to spend money/aid public projects with federal money, while Republicans tend to cut certain money outlets.
While both sides have their ups and downs, one alarming cut in the eyes of many students was the possibility of a reduction of Pell Grants; according to Senate Budget Committee’s website www.budget.senate.gov, “Pell Grants have already been cut by $50 billion, but the Republican budget would further cut Pell Grants nearly $90 billion over ten years.”
For some students, Pell Grants are the reason why they can afford to go to college; whether they are single mothers or fathers, part time students trying to hold down a job while going to school, or just low income student.
These grants allow them to try to better themselves in our society, and without them many would not have the resources or accessibility to achieve greater academic feats.
On top of this, the Pell Grant cuts would not allow any part times students accept Pell Grants, which again would be extremely detrimental to a significant portion of students.
So why does this matter to Stony Brook students?
According to Forbes, eighty percent of students rely on financial aid from the university, with a large portion of that money coming from Federal Pell Grants.
Should the Pell Grants be cut any further, a significant portion of students may struggle trying to pay for their tuition, which of course is never a good thing.
While I am not advocating for either the Republicans or Democrats, a loss of financial aid is obviously never favored by the student body.
I myself know that I would strongly oppose any suggestion of Pell Grant cuts since they can be the make-or-break point for many students who are on the fence of going to college if they have monetary issues.
Unlike those who advocate for Pell Grant cuts, not all of us were born with the luxury of having a silver spoon in hand; we all could not afford to go away to college or take on the loans that their parents have no problem paying.
For now, though, we can only speculate as to what will happen come this year’s Election Day, and the only thing that is certain is that regardless of who gets elected our government will still face the same political gridlock it has been dealing with for the past couple of years.