Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Congress Approves Smaller Pell Grant Increase Than Previous Years

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Congress Approves Smaller Pell Grant Increase Than Previous Years

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON UPDATE: Congress Approves Smaller Pell Grant Increase than Previous Years

The neediest college students will get a higher Pell Grant next year under terms of a delicately negotiated White House/Congress education spending bill.

The new maximum grant, $3,125, is a $125 increase from the current level. However, it is the smallest one-year jump during the past three years.

But the White House and Congress did include funding for several new initiatives contained in the just-completed reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The budget package provides $120 million to launch the GEAR-UP for College program, which will feature partnerships between high schools and colleges to prepare at-risk youth for higher education.

This initiative was formerly called the High Hopes for College program during congressional deliberations. Its main proponent in the House of Representatives was Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), a Congressional Black Caucus member who said the plan could help many disadvantaged youth learn about and prepare for college.

The budget also includes $10 million for a new distance learning partnership program and $5 million to provide childcare for the children of needy students.

Many existing programs received small to moderate funding increases in the final budget package. Funding for TRIO programs will increase to $600 million, up $71 million, while college work/study programs will receive $870 million, a $40 million increase.

The budget pact contains $619 million for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, a $5 million increase. …

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