Colleges governed by federal law do not frequently receive increases to their Pell Grant funding because Congress determines the amount. The Pell Grant money provided is usually set through a combination of scholarships, tuition discounts, and financial aid that the school needs to follow under the Congressional restrictions.
The federal government is sending universities and colleges more than $1.5 billion in earmarks and pouring further millions into student success grant programs as part of the $1.7 trillion spending package for the fiscal year 2023 that Congress passed late last month.
The Senate passed a bill to increase the maximum annual Pell Grant award to $7,395—a $500 boost beginning in the 2023–24 Award Year. It’s the second rise in many years and the largest since 2005. According to advocates and higher education organizations, the increase of 500 dollars is significant, allowing more students access to college tuition costs.
The Department of Education will receive 4 billion more in discretionary cash, despite the Biden administration’s call for a staggering $13 billion extra. In addition, the budget does provide additional funding to several federal higher education initiatives, including nearly $137 million for historically underfunded institutions.
The portions of the $1.5 billion spending amount went into these sectors:
Public schools: The Title I-A grants to the local educational agencies program, which helps over half of the nation’s public schools improve student achievement and prepare students for college and careers, particularly those in high-poverty schools, has received an additional $850 million in funding, a 5% increase from the previous fiscal year; This brings the total amount of the financing for the program to $18.387 billion, including support for preschool programs for eligible children.
Community Schools: The bill includes a 100% increase, or an additional $75 million, for a range of other essential programs in community schools, such as language arts and recreational programs, bringing the total funding to $150 million.
Rural Education: The allocated amount of $215 million is a significant increase from last year, allowing rural school districts access to the tools needed to foster and build the highest level of education for their students. This increase reflects a commitment from those providing and passing the bill to promote learning in underserved areas and aid in closing any gap between these schools and, more enormous, urban ones.
College Affordability: The bill includes a significant increase of 7.2%, or $500, in the maximum Pell Grant award for the 2023-24 school year, bringing it to $7,395; This is the most significant increase in the top Pell Grant award since the 2009-10 and builds on the $400 increase from the previous year. Pell Grants, which help around 7 million students pursue higher education and advance their careers each year, will be significantly impacted by this increase.
Other programs this bill supports include:
Strengthen Minority Serving Institutions
Why is a Pell Grant Increase Important?
The Pell Grant increase is essential to helping more students access higher education and build better future opportunities. Pell Grants provide need-based financial aid to individuals who demonstrate financial need, allowing them to pay for college tuition, fees, books, housing, and other expenses related to attending college. In addition, Pell Grants do not require repayment. Instead, they are an excellent resource for students who otherwise may only be able to participate in or complete college with additional financial support.
The recent Pell Grant increase of $500 will hugely impact many prospective and current college students in the United States. With the rising cost of college tuition, the Pell Grant increase will allow more students access to higher education that they may not have been able to afford otherwise. In addition, this Pell Grant increase incentivizes more students to pursue higher education and career goals that may require a college degree.
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The announcement that colleges will receive the highest Pell Grant increase in the recent decade is good news for students and higher education institutions. This increase in funding will help make college more affordable for low-income students, increasing access to higher education for these individuals. It will also provide a much-needed boost to colleges, which have been struggling with budget cuts and declining enrollment in recent years. Overall, this increase in Pell Grants is a positive development that will have long-term benefits for both students and colleges.