April 6, 2009
President Obama's Fiscal Year 2010 budget proposes that funding for the Federal Pell Grant be mandatory and predictable.
This proposal would guarantee funding for the Federal Pell Grant program and ensure that grant amounts would keep pace with inflation. By making funding mandatory, the Pell Grant program would no longer be subject to the discretionary budget process, would eliminate uncertainty in funding from year to year, and would ensure that the grants reflect cost of living increases. Beginning with academic year 2010-2011, the Pell grant maximum would be indexed to the consumer price index plus one percent, thus ensuring that Pell grant awards would meet their original objective to cover a substantial percentage of college costs. The maximum for the 2010-11 academic year would be $5,550.
What's the significance of the proposal in the President's budget to make funding for the Pell Grant Program mandatory?
One of the greatest barriers to planning for postsecondary education by students and families is not knowing whether or not funds will be available. By ensuring the annual availability and dollar value of the Pell Grant, schools will be able to make earlier determinations of awards and students and families will be able to make better decisions about postsecondary school plans.