College Students Disappointed with Results of Sequestration

On March 1, President Barack Obama signed into effect sequestration cuts that will have a negative financial impact on state and federal government agencies, as well as millions of Americans nationwide. Lawmakers in the Capitol tried to reach a deal between Democrats and Republicans, but were not successful.

After weeks of back-and-forth attempts in Washington, D.C., politicians attempted to reach a compromise and save the economy, but the sequestration has now been put into effect. With cuts expected and severe consequences following, the federal government and states are trying to prepare for the projected job losses, agency budget cuts, and all other detrimental impacts the sequester may cause.

Citizens expected to be affected most are students, specifically those who attend college and have federal loans or grants. Students at Suffolk, like most other college students in the United States, are concerned about the cuts to education and to federal loans that help them cover the various costs of tuition, housing, and other expenses.

Greg Amato, a Suffolk freshman, said the impact on students from the sequester is “clearly negatively…automatic budget cuts in any sense of the word are not a good thing because, you know, they’re cutting out the core parts of the education.”

Amato, who is majoring in political science, added that he “know[s] the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, came out in huge opposition of the sequester mainly because of the cuts in education – so, clearly, that’s the affect it has on college students.”

Two weeks after the sequester was set to begin, on March 15, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts visited the Natick Soldier Systems Center to discuss their work and how the sequestration will affect the employees and the company. According to an article on Boston.com, the 1,343 workers at the Natick Army Labs will be taking a 20 percent cut to their work week. Meanwhile, some of these military cuts come close to home for some students at Suffolk.

Kristin Murray, a sophomore majoring in marketing mentioned that she has “a friend who’s in the army and she can’t take classes next semester because the Army is taking away that funding.”

Murray believes that sequester happened “because people in the government need to get together and they’re incapable of that at this moment.” The disappointment about Congress among many Americans is just as persistent with college students.

Katie Desrosiers, junior majoring in government, agreed with Murray, “it’s just the political divisions.”

Desrosiers, a SGA Senator for the Class of 2015, said “I blame it on everyone. The president isn’t encouraging bipartisan activity, and the parties aren’t working together in Congress.”

The White House, while receiving criticism for inaction on the issue, released a website that provided details and other information with the exact results of the sequester, and how it will hurt the budgets and agencies in the federal and state government. In Massachusetts, most of the cuts go to education, safety and security, government services, and public health.

Specifically in regard to the sequester’s impact on education, the White House website cites that “Massachusetts will lose approximately $13.9 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 190 teacher and aide jobs at risk.”

College students will also be impacted.

“Around 580 fewer low income students in Massachusetts would receive aid,” the White House explains, “to help them finance the costs of college and around 800 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.”