Obama Administration Proposes Major Increase in Pell Grant Funding

The president’s plan to freeze spending apparently does not apply to the Pell Grant program. The president’s new budget calls for increasing the maximum Pell Grant award from $5,350 to $5,710.

But even more ambitious is the administration’s plan to make Pell Grants an entitlement program. This means that every student who qualifies for aid would receive funds and Congress would not have to appropriate money each year to fund the program. The change is expected to add as many as 1 million more students to the Pell Grant program. Since blacks receive a disproportionate share of all Pell Grants, this would be a major boost to African-American higher education.

If the administration’s plan is approved by Congress, spending on the Pell Grant program will have almost doubled, from $18 billion to $35 billion, since Obama took office.