House Approves Pell Grant RemedyThe House of Representatives has cleared legislation that will address most of the $1.3 billion shortfall in the Pell Grant program that has threatened to limit access to the government’s main student aid grant program.
A bill approved by the House late last month would provide $1 billion in emergency spending. The current Pell shortfall is $1.3 billion, and lawmakers also raised the prospect of borrowing from next year’s budget to pay off the remainder of the funds.
Student demand for Pell Grants has increased dramatically in the past year as the declining economy prompted more students to return to school. While the program awards funds to all low-income students who qualify for aid, funding approved last fall was not sufficient to meet the increased demand. Education Department leaders have raised the prospect of cutting grants to students if Congress fails to address the situation. Similar legislation is expected to gain support soon from the full Senate.
Congress plans to provide the funding in an emergency spending bill designed primarily to support homeland security and the ongoing military campaign in Afghanistan.
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