Lawmakers Agree on Pell Increase
Needy students are likely to get an extra $250 in their Pell Grants next year based on recent action on Capitol Hill.
Both the House and the Senate are proposing the $250 increase, which would bring the maximum Pell Grant for needy students to $4,000 in 2002. However, higher education experts predict an 8 to 10 percent increase in the number of applicants for these grants. Education advocates had wanted as much as a $600 increase, but the House/Senate figure is an improvement on the extra $150 proposed by President Bush earlier this year.
“We’re doing a little better than I thought we would do three months ago,” says David Baime, government relations director for the American Association of Community Colleges.
Elsewhere in student financial aid, both chambers are proposing a funding freeze for college work/study at the current $1.01 billion. Both houses would increase Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant funding, but by different amounts. The House is proposing $725 million, up $34 million from current funding. The Senate proposed a smaller increase of $22 million.
Despite the agreement on Pell, it is unclear how quickly Congress can wrap up budget bills for 2002. Both chambers shut down on Oct. 18 as hazardous material teams examined anthrax threats in congressional buildings.
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