INSIDE HIGHER ED: GOP Would Freeze Pell

Career College Central Summary:

  • Kicking off what will likely be months of contentious budget battles, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday released a 2016 funding blueprint that calls for freezing the maximum Pell Grant award.
  • The proposal, which was spearheaded by the House budget committee chairman, Representative Tom Price of Georgia, would keep the maximum Pell award at the current $5,775 for the next 10 years.
  • It is part of an overall plan that seeks deep cuts in domestic spending in order to bring the federal government’s expenditures into balance with its revenue over the next decade.
  • The proposal echoes the budgetary visions of Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who chaired the House budget committee in the last Congress.
  • Like Ryan’s recommendations in previous years, this year’s Republican plan criticizes the expansion of the Pell Grant program under the Obama administration as unsustainable.
  • Still, the budget outline is more of an ideological statement of priorities than it is a road map to any specific changes to student aid programs.
  • It calls, for instance, for better targeting of Pell Grants to "students who need the most assistance," but does not suggest how to do that.
  • Rhetorically, the proposal goes even further than previous Ryan budgets in its skepticism of how Pell Grants are currently awarded.
  • "Increasing eligibility to those with higher incomes drains resources from those who need the most help," the budget framework says.
  • Advocates for student financial aid rejected the budget proposal's approach to Pell funding.
  • “Congress should not balance the federal budget on the backs of students,” the Institute for College Access and Success said in a prepared statement. “With higher education more important and harder to afford than ever, we need to do more, not less, to keep college within reach for all students.”

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INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION

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