By Anna Muckerman
You've probably heard people talking about the sequester lately and wondered what it is and why it's such a big deal. Essentially, it was created as an incentive for Congress to reduce the gap between the money it made and the money it spent (called the deficit). Unfortunately they couldn't make an agreement by the deadline, December 31, 2011, so the sequester kicked into effect.
But what is it? It's a huge group of spending cuts that target programs favored by both republicans and democrats. It will reduce the amount of government money sent to the military, homeland security, Medicare and many other programs. Unfortunately, some of these cuts are going to affect you.
If you are going off to college in the fall, you might find that there is less money available to help pay for all your expenses. The federal work-study program will cut 440 jobs in Maryland alone. Loan origination fees will also be higher. However, if you qualify for Federal Pell Grants, you won't be affected. The state will lose 200 teacher and aide jobs and 30 public schools will lose funding to help disadvantage students.
The number of jobs available will also be limited. The Congressional Budget Office predicts about 750,000 jobs will be lost nationwide because of the sequester, and Maryland is predicted to lose between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs.
The sequester will make finding a job harder, as well as finding a way to pay for college. Finding scholarships is going to be more important than ever. Fortunately, the cuts will take affect gradually.
To learn more about the sequester will affect you and your state visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/sequester/interactive-map .