Double-talk from Zinke: Expresses Concern for Homeless High School Students, But Supports Plan To Cut Pell Grants

 Zinke Supports Plan That Would Cut or Deny Grants to Low-Income Students

(Helena, MT)  – Once again, former SOFA Pac Chairman and U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke is sending mixed messages to Montanans on what he stands for.
During a recent debate on the campus of Montana State University, he expressed his concern for “homeless high school kids.”  [Source: MSU Republican Primary Debate, 20:25, 3/24/14]
Less than two weeks later, when a new House budget plan proposed major cuts to a program that would help those very same high school students get a college education, Zinke called the plan “reasonable.”
“It’s the height of hypocrisy with Zinke saying one thing to a group of college students, and turning around a couple weeks later to stick those same students with a higher bill for college. This kind of double-talk reinforces that Zinke is willing to say anything to anyone as long as it politically expedient. I rely on federal student loans and it bothers me that Zinke thinks I should be paying more money to the federal government when there’s so much waste out there,”said Topher Williams, a student at the University of Montana.

Zinke’s habit of double-talk and lack of accountability seems to be a campaign theme:

  • SOFA-PAC: During a recent debate, Zinke said he supports holding the government accountable, but he continues to face questions as to whether he is holding himself accountable to campaign finance rules as his ties to the super-PAC he founded continue to raise ethical concerns.
  • Montana State College Republicans are forced to call out Zinke for falsely claiming he won the March GOP debate on campus.
  • Zinke called Hillary Clinton the “anti-Christ” but when asked to explain himself later he wouldn’t take responsibility for the statement and retreated saying it was just a joke.

In the meantime, Elsie Arntzen, Matt Rosendale, Drew Turiano and Corey Stapleton have failed to tell Montanans where they stand on the Ryan Plan.

How Zinke’s Support Of The Ryan Plan Would Affect Higher Education In Montana
Increase Costs For All, Reduce Opportunities For Low-Income Students
More than 50 percent of college students in Montana would lose funding to get a higher education based on a new House GOP budget plan unveiled this week by Paul Ryan (R-WI). And, all Montanans who have federal student loans would be hit with a major increase in education costs as they’d have to start paying interest on loans while they’re still in school.

Under the Ryan Plan, education funding would be cut by $145 billion over 10 years. Pell grants for college students would lose $90 billion. University students would start being charged interest on their loans while still in school, reaping $40 billion. [New York Times, 1/1/14]

In the 2012-2013 academic year, 23,779 Montana students received Pell grants.Most would see decreased grant amounts, and many would lose eligibility. [National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, accessed 3/3/14]

The Montana Board of Regents reported 40,169 students enrolled in the Montana University System in 2013. [Montana State University, accessed 3/3/14]

Under Ryan's cuts, Pell Grants to low-income students would be reduced by 24%, and many middle-income students would become ineligible to continue receiving Pell grants. [Education DIVE, 3/2/14]

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