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More Money for Pell Grants, Research

More Money for Pell Grants, Research

Inside Higher Ed

Katherine Knott
January 3, 2023
Congress is sending more than $1.5 billion to colleges and universities thanks to earmarks and pouring millions more into student success grant programs as part of the $1.7 trillion spending package for fiscal year 2023 that lawmakers approved late last month.
The bill signed into law by President Biden increases the maximum annual Pell Grant award to $7,395—a $500 increase that will begin in the 2023–24 award year. It’s the second increase in as many fiscal years and the largest in a decade. Advocates and higher education groups said the $500 bump is significant and will help more students afford a college education.
The U.S. Department of Education is receiving nearly $4 billion more in discretionary funds, although the Biden administration had requested $13 billion more. The adopted budget does increase funding for a range of federal higher education programs, including $137 million more for historically underresourced institutions, but it keeps funding flat for the Office of Federal Student Aid.
“We hoped for more support than that,” said David Baime, senior vice president for government relations for the American Association of Community Colleges. “Our students and our colleges are facing increased costs and challenges with enrollment in most places, and they rely upon the federal government for support.”
Higher education groups praised the Pell Grant increase and other provisions in the spending bill. However, the Biden administration, advocates and interest groups had hoped to see higher increases across the board.
“This is not a budget in which they were doing extraordinary things,” said Jon Fansmith, assistant vice president for government relations at the American Council on Education. “This budget was a lot about making the kind of compromises necessary to get spending wrapped up for the year. They weren’t making big, bold strokes in this budget.”
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