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As Friday’s deadline for the so-called "Sequestration" creeps closer, schools across the Ozarks area are trying to prepare for the potential $85 billion in across-the-board cuts in federal spending. These automatic spending cuts may affect local schools and universities, as KSMU’s Shannon Bowers reports.
With schools counting on every last dollar, this spending cut through the sequestration would limit a host of federal programs in the Ozarks. Educators say that the students who need the resources most will be the first affected.
If the sequestration does go into effect, the Nixa Public School District may see about $44,000 cut from its budget. Of that figure, $37,000 would be cut directly from Title One programs that support academic achievements for the disadvantaged.
Josh Chastain, the federal program coordinator for Nixa Public Schools, says that he may have some difficult decisions in the near future.
“When we have money cut, we have to cut something. Our goal is to never cut position but with money cut, that is a lot of money, it could take away a position or supply or things we need to support those Title One teachers,” said Chastain.
Area universities are concerned that if the sequester goes into effect, it will impact those students who need the financial aid the most. For now, the PELL grant will stay in affect, but Missouri State University would have to limit other campus based aid programs.
The director of student financial aid at MSU is Vicki Mattocks. She saysif the sequestration occurs, MSU is expected to lose about $16,500 in funding for the “College Work Study Program,” which is a need-based program to employ students within the department they are studying.
$23,000 in funding would also be cut from the Student Education Opportunity Grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.
“This will just be the beginning. If it continues and the situation continues, then our ability to offer enough financial assistance to students will continue to get worse,” said Mattocks.
Additionally, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, would be affected. Students applying for the upcoming year could expect a slower processing of the basic financial aid application.
For KSMU News, I’m Shannon Bowers.
For infomation on the impact of Federal Student Aid