July 6, 2022
The House Appropriations Committee approved a funding plan on June 30 that would increase funding for the Education Department by 13 percent for fiscal year 2023.
The bill, approved by the committee in a vote of 32 to 24 along party lines, would allocate over $3.9 billion for higher education, a $968 million increase from fiscal year 2022, and $24.6 billion for federal student aid programs, a $59 million increase.
Funding for Pell Grants is the most significant difference between the House committee’s budget plan and the executive budget proposal released by President Biden in March. The House budget plan would expand the maximum annual Pell Grant award by $500, to a total of $7,395. This falls short of Biden’s proposal to expand the maximum Pell Grant award by $2,175, which would have brought the total annual award to $8,670.
Many higher ed leaders were hopeful for a greater increase to the Pell Grant that would set the framework for doubling it in the near future. Although the increase offered by the House is modest compared to Biden’s proposal, many of those who supported an increase are satisfied.
“Five hundred dollars is the largest Pell increase in a decade,” said Jon Fansmith, assistant vice president of government relations at the American Council on Education, “though far, far short of what the president had asked for, and certainly not at a level that we would be getting close to doubling Pell anytime soon. It’s not bad news—it just falls short.”
The House’s proposed increases to the Pell Grant would have a greater impact on students attending colleges with lower tuition prices.