July 31, 2023
The maximum Pell Grant for fiscal year 2024 would increase by $250 — to $7,645 — under a bipartisan spending proposal passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week.
The committee voted 26-2 to recommend a discretionary spending budget of $79.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Education, which would provide the agency with flat funding in line with current spending levels.
Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee two weeks earlier proposed just $67.4 billion for the Education Department, representing a roughly $12 billion reduction from current spending levels. The cuts would include keeping funding for the Pell Grant program flat and eliminating certain student aid programs.
Although the House and Senate proposals for Education Department funding differ widely, they both fall well short of President Joe Biden’s proposed budget. In March, he had pitched $90 billion for the agency, including boosting the maximum Pell Grant award to $8,215.
That plan didn’t have much chance of getting through a deeply divided Congress, where Republicans dominate the House, and Democrats hold only a narrow majority in the Senate.
But hopes for elements of Biden’s blueprint to pass were further dashed when congressional lawmakers cut a deal in June to raise the debt ceiling limit, averting a potential economic disaster. Under that agreement, lawmakers flat-funded federal education spending for fiscal 2024 and limited increases to 1% for fiscal 2025.