As the nation’s most expansive grant program for college, Pell Grants provide more than $31 billion per year to help more than 8 million low-income students afford postsecondary education. While Congress has faced funding shortfalls in the program over the past few years, it has preserved and increased the maximum award available.
However, if Congress does not take action in the coming years, continued unnecessary austerity will force billions of dollars in cuts to either Pell Grants or other programs in the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Congress will be forced to choose between reducing much-needed dollars to help vulnerable students manage the ever-rising cost of college and cutting crucial parts of the social safety net, such as those related to health care or displaced workers.
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