Pell Grant Cuts
The Pell Grant program has seen a substantial increase in government support in recent years. Thanks to the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there was an additional $13.869 Billion added to the funding of the Pell Grant. This equates to 1.7% of the total Act passed by Congress in 2009.
Prior to this monumental support by congress, the Pell Grant only saw modest funding throughout the years. In 2005, the program offered $12.35 Billion in funding, while in 2007 there was $17.34 Billion in funding. Essentially over night, there was an increase of 79.9% in Pell Grant funds to assist low income students pay for their education.
The Bill was set to gradually increase the Pell Grant’s maximum award amount from $4,360 in 2008 to $5,550 in 2010 and would cover an additional 800,000 eligible students. Adding an additional 800,000 applicants would increase the number of recipients to 7 Million students.
Potential Pell Grant Cuts
Congress had to revisit the Pell Grant funding due to the recent large government deficits in July 2011. In the proposed bill created by the Republican Party, the Pell Grant program would have seen a 15% cut or $845 in funding with 1.7 million less students becoming eligible to receive a Pell Grant. This would have been detrimental to many low-income students across the nation, since many depend on these funds to pay for their education. Without these funds, many students wouldn’t be able to have a chance to receive an education.
The final short-term spending bill that was agreed upon had eliminated the Pell Grant Summer funding to students that were below half-time during the fall or spring semester. Congress delayed the request to cancel the summer grant until next year (2012), which if passed, could mean that the summer award would have only lasted two years.