Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pell Grant Update - Center for American Progress

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Pell Grant program is projected to cost $31.7 billion in award year 2012-2013. Due to Pell scoring rules adopted in section 406 of the 2006 budget resolution, Congress must enact sufficient funding to cover these costs as well as any shortfall from previous years. This rule exists to ensure Congress does not just roll shortfalls forward into future years. The shortfall from last year is $5.7 billion—a result of more students than expected qualifying for aid. All in all, Congress must come up with $37.4 billion for award year 2012-2013 to maintain the maximum award of $5,550 and ensure access to Pell Grants for more than 9 million low-income students. Congress included $10 billion in the debt ceiling deal for the Pell Grant program in award year 2012-2013. In addition, last year’s continuing resolution saved $3.2 billion by eliminating the “Full-Year Pell,” a program that enabled year‑round students to qualify for additional Pell funding. Which means that if Congress provides the same level of discretionary funding in fiscal year 2012 that it provided in fiscal year 2011—$23 billion—Pell Grants will be underfunded by $1.3 billion.

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