Pell Shortfall

There’s not going to be enough money to fully fund Pell Grants, the government program that provides money to help low-income students to attend college. According to an article by Jennifer Epstein in Inside Higher Ed:

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies approved a bill that provides $169.6 billion in discretionary funding, including $66.4 billion for the Education Department. As it stands, the bill includes just short of $19.5 billion for student financial aid programs, including $17.6 billion for the Pell program, which would maintain maximum discretionary Pell funding at $4,860 per student.

That means Pell is still about $5.7 billion short. Something’s going to come out of the budget process without money. The Senate bill also proposes eliminating funding for the Perkins loan program, the federal government’s fixed interest rate, need-based loan available for education.

But realistically the bill won’t actually be complete until about January, according to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee. That might be enough time to fix the problem.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer