Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Bush Budget Includes Gains for HBCUs, Pell Grants

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Bush Budget Includes Gains for HBCUs, Pell Grants

Article excerpt

Historically Black colleges and universities, along with Hispanic-serving institutions, are in line for moderate funding gains under President Bush's education budget for 2002.

A bare-bones budget plan for the Department of Education calls for a 6.4 percent increase for these minority-serving institutions next year. While specific funding allotments were not released, that percentage gain would translate into another $12 million to $15 million for HBCUs and at least an additional $4 million for HSIs.

Moreover, the president says the 2002 increase for HBCUs and HSIs would represent a "first installment" toward the goal of a 30 percent increase within four years.

Elsewhere, the budget blueprint recommends an additional $1 billion for the Pell Grant program. But most analysts believe the president is backing away from earlier proposals to "front-load" the Pell program; that is, to provide larger grants for first-year students to help them adjust to college.

Some say front-loading may improve retention in higher education, while critics say it may delay financial problems for low-income students who still will face heavy financial pressures.

"We're pleased the administration has backed off on front-loading," says Corye Barbour, government relations director for the United States Student Association.

Under Bush's original plan, a first-year student could get $5,100 from Pell -- far more than the $3,750 maximum this year. A student who gets a large first-year grant may find it difficult to return with smaller second- and third-year grants. …

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