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July 7--  Politicians in Washington are looking at ways to save money and reduce federal debt.  One action being considered is cuts to Pell Grants which help some students attend college.

That's the wrong place to cut, according to Dr. Cathy Mitchell, President of Southeastern Technical College in Vidalia.

"The student right now gets a maximum of $5,500 and that's supposed to be for living expenses while they are taking courses.  Congress is looking at cutting that amount.  There's never a good time for that to happen, but now with the HOPE Scholarship changes on top of that, they are going to have use part of their Pell Grant to pay for the difference in what HOPE doesn't pay.  Sixty-eight percent of our students get the Pell Grant and it's for economically disadvantaged students.  With everything going on in the economy right now, this would be a terrible time to have a cut there," she says.

Dr. Mitchell is encouraging folks to write their elected representatives and remind them that technical colleges are important to job growth.

"I wrote all of our Senators and Congressman last week encouraging them not to cut the Pell Grant and not trying to balance the budget there.  What we are doing is trying to give people the skills they need to get out and get a good job.  There are jobs out there, but many of them require skills that our people don'e have.  I really feel what we are doing is getting people out there with the skills they need.  The thing that's going to get the economy going is jobs," Dr. Mitchell says.

Dr. Mitchell reports Southeastern Tech is considering offering federal student loans to help students get the skills they need to find a job.