Pell Grant Cuts May Be Looming

Written by Michael Bennet

There may be several Pell Grant cuts on the horizon, as Congress must deal with an unexpected shortfall that could warrant what would be a 5.7 billion dollar funding cut. The vote should happen over the next few months, and if passed, this Pell Grant cut would reduce the maximum available Pell Grant amount by over 800 dollars, from 5,550 dollars down to 4,705 dollars.

This would dramatically affect over nine million students who would have their Pell Grant funding cut by over fifteen percent if nothing is done to remedy the situation. It is a real shame that these cuts to the Pell Grant program are even being considered, as a recent bill was just passed this past Spring that actually expanded the program by a significant extent.

SAFRA, or the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, increased the reach of the program, as well as award amounts across the board, and if Congress votes for this Pell Grant cut then the program will be left in worse shape than it was before SAFRA was initiated.

I’m not sure what exactly happened here to cause such a dramatic swing in funding, as you would think that it would be impossible in less than a year’s time to lose over five billion dollars. Regardless, these Pell Grant cuts do seem to be a reality, and we can only hope that Congress does not pass such cuts, and finds a way to come up with the money that is needed to keep the program where it is now.

Stay tuned, as I will post another article once the vote actually happens, with information about how students should approach such changes that may come with such an outcome.

Update. Please view this post about the 2011-2012 Pell Grant cuts to learn more about the impact this Congressional vote has had on the Pell Grant program.