Federal budget ax could reduce Pell grants
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
Some 700 Lawrence Tech students who receive needs-based federal Pell Grants could see their aid significantly reduced under a resolution that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 1.
House Resolution 38 authorizes the chair of the House Committee on the Budget to cut non-security spending to 2008 levels or less. That would be a major reduction in the Pell Grant program, which received an additional $17.1 billion in funding from President Obama’s economic stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.
The maximum award amount for a Pell Grant has increased about 28 percent since 2008, growing from $4,331 to $5,550, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The average award amount is also up about 31 percent since 2008, increasing from $2,945 to $3,865.
According to Mark Martin, director of financial aid at Lawrence Tech, a reduction in Pell Grants to 2008 levels could force many Lawrence Tech students to reduce their course load or even leave college. “The Pell Grant is a very important funding source for many of our students,” he said.
The fate of the Pell Grant program could be decided in Congress in the new week or two, and Martin has sent an email to Pell Grant recipients urging them to contact their representative in Congress and Michigan’s two senators. Those who believe the Pell Grant program is important are encouraged to do the same.
To look up your congressional representative, go to this U.S. House of Representatives website. Key in your zipcode, and then follow the contact prompts for email.