Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Robbing Perkins to Pay for Pell?

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Robbing Perkins to Pay for Pell?

Article excerpt

Education advocates are expressing growing concern about reports that the Bush administration may dismantle a popular vocational/technical education program to shore up the fiscally ailing Pell Grant program.

While administration officials will not comment on the idea, advocacy groups are mobilizing to stop cuts in the Carl Perkins Act, which supports technical, vocational and career education programs at the K-12 and higher education levels. Formulas vary, though many states devote about one-third of their Perkins dollars to post-secondary institutions.

Perkins gets about $1.2 billion annually. The fast-growing Pell shortfall could reach $3 billion, some officials say. Congress just provided $1 billion in emergency spending last summer to cover most of the 2001 Pell shortfall.

The "robbing Perkins to pay for Pell" argument clearly is hitting a nerve with some advocates who support both programs. For Pell, the issue is dicey because lawmakers of all stripes support the notion that more youth should attend college. In the current recession, a surge of low- and middle-income students returning to school is fueling the Pell shortfall. …

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