ThinkProgress, the blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, is out with a new report tonight from a Paul Ryan town hall event in Wisconsin: "Paul Ryan Tells Student He Should Work Three Jobs To Pay For College, Not Use Pell Grants."
The headline makes two claims (which are repeated in the story): (1) Ryan told the student to work three jobs, (2) Ryan told the student not to use Pell grants. Both claims are false.
Here's ThinkProgress quoting the student and Ryan:
LOWE: I come from a very middle-class family and under President Obama, I get $5,500 per year to pay for school, which doesn’t come close to covering all of the funding, but it helps ease the burden. Under your plan, you cut it by 15 percent. I was just curious why you would cut a grant that goes directly to the middle- and lower-class people that need it the most.
RYAN: ‘Cause Pell Grants have become unsustainable. It’s all borrowed money…Look, I worked three jobs to pay off my student loans after college. I didn’t get grants, I got loans, and we need to have a system of viable student loans to be able to do this.
The second concern I have is, in the health care bill — people don’t know this — for budgetary gimmickry reasons, the administration and Congress at the time, took over the student loan industry. So they had the federal government, the Department of Education, basically confiscate the private student loan industry.
As you can see, Ryan never told the student not to use Pell grants. And Ryan never told the student to work three jobs--he simply told the student that he worked three jobs to pay off his own loans.
ThinkProgress followed Ryan through his townhall meetings in April--hoping for a dramatic moment or two showing the congressman getting tripped up by constitutuents concerned about his proposed Medicare reform. They came up empty then. Now, they've just decided to start making things up.
In case you're wondering what Ryan says in the place where ThinkProgress places an ellipsis, it's Ryan explaining why Pell grant increases don't help students:
"The studies have been really clear on this--every time we increase Pell grant awards, tuition rates go up. So we put money in the right pocket of the students, and the then what happens are universities and colleges crank up their tuition and take it out of the left hand. And so we're feeding education inflation. We've got to address education inflation. It makes no sense. It doesn't help the student by simply feeding higher tuition costs."