From Kenrry Alvarado - Columbia Heights Educational Campus

3101 16th St, NW / Washington, DC 20010 / HS: 202.939.7700 / MS: 202.939.6680 / Maria Tukeva, Principal
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PRESS ROOM > Special Events > President Obama's Visit > Letters to the President

April 6, 2011

Barack H. Obama
White House
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, DC 20500
President Obama:

I thank you for giving my school the opportunity to speak with you on the issues of education that are most important to us.  I was honored to be one of the students that directly asked you a question regarding the future of education in the United States.

I was a bit disappointed that you did not address the $20 billion deficit the Pell Grant will face in the coming fiscal year.  My prompt for the question was originally:  Pell Grant Program now faces a $20 billion deficit by the end of 2012's fiscal year. Although your administration has been able to sustain the maximum grant at $5,550 by limiting the amount of grants one can receive from two to one grants per year, do you believe that cuts similar to these would actually lower retention rates across the country, especially among students who depend on these grants to go to college? And how do you plan to reduce the Pell Grant's deficit?  Due to time constraints, I had to shorten my question for the Univision broadcast.  

Although you've kept your promise to increase Pell grants by cutting the banks out of the middle, the Republican led House is proposing to cut Pell grants by 15%.How does this reconcile with your promise to provide more Pell grants and higher grant amounts to students?And if this bill crosses your desk, will you exercise the power of the veto?  

You may know and as Mr. Jorge Ramos mentioned on the program, America is spending 10 times more money on defense than on education. And as you have previously acknowledged, there is an enormous amount of wasteful military spending.  So I hope you look into the costs within the military programs to get rid of unnecessary programs and equipment.   And hopefully we can reallocate funds from the Defense budget to the Education budget, thereby reducing the disparity between the two.

I know you currently face numerous problems such as a high unemployment rate for the last two years, healthcare overhaul and the current crisis in Libya.  However, I am eager to find out how you plan to bring the grant program out of a deficit and bring forth more opportune ties for students to receive aid for college.

I thank you for giving us such an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can't wait to see how you will be shaping education policy in the coming years.


Kennry Alvarado
Class of 2011

P.S. You have my vote in 2012.

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