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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PIP/MVP alliance wants to end Pell Grants, warn NPP lawmaker & youth leader

Progressive Youth Organization President Keishla Rodríguez (X photo)

By The Star Staff

New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. José Aponte Hernández, along with the president of the Progressive Youth Organization, Keishla “Keka” Rodríguez, warned on Sunday that the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP)-Citizen Victory Movement (MVC) alliance publicly seeks to eliminate federal aid -- the Pell Grant program specifically -- for the university education of young people in Puerto Rico.

“Clearly and publicly, the gubernatorial candidate in 2024 of the pro-independence PIP/MVC party, Juan Dalmau, said that if he is elected governor he ‘will not request more federal funds’ and that Pell grants, the federal aid that is used by the vast majority of young people for post-high school studies, in addition to not requesting it, they will end in a period of 10 years,” Aponte Hernández said in a press release. “That is, in the next decade no young Puerto Rican will be able to attend a university because there are no scholarships to help pay for these studies.”

“The PIP/MVC coalition has it in for young people in Puerto Rico,” Rodríguez added. “They want young people not to get a college education, because they know very well that without the money from the Pell Grants it becomes virtually impossible to study for a university degree on the island. On the contrary, Dalmau and his colleague, Manuel Natal, are going to condemn young Puerto Ricans to have to make an economic effort to be able to study and unfortunately they are going to start getting into debt from a very young age, when today we have a mechanism of help that we would not have under their leftist policies.”

“We cannot give the vote to someone who wants to leave our young people without education,” the NPP youth leader said. “This is what they represent in the so-called New Country Alliance.”

The Pell Grant is currently providing aid up to a maximum of $7,395 for the 2023-2024 academic year, which began in August, the NPP officials pointed out. That is for up to six years of full-time study, they said.

“Eliminating federal funding as the [coalition] of the PIP/MVC wants means the closure of businesses, the closure of private schools, of health centers, and the closure of private universities and postsecondary educational institutions,” Aponte Hernández said. “What Dalmau seeks is to eliminate freedom of choice and without a doubt, without the Pell Grants, that no young person has a professional career. That is a very, very dangerous path.”

Rodriguez noted that “the reality is that if we use the University of Puerto Rico as an example, the data shows that 80 percent of its students pay for their courses through the Pell Grant.”

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