"For decades, the Pell Grant has helped millions of low-income students improve their life circumstances through the pursuit of a college education. The recent omnibus appropriations bill in some ways demonstrates a commitment to helping students realize this dream, while at the same time cutting other important investments.
"We are encouraged by the reinstatement of year-round Pell, which will give students the flexibility to use federal grant monies to cover summer term courses, an option that can help accelerate degree completion. Additionally, the Federal TRIO programs and GEAR UP will receive $50 million and $17 million more in funding, respectively. These programs create pathways to higher education for low-income and often underrepresented students.
"But as we said when the Trump Administration released its Budget Blueprint in March, diverting any funds from the existing Pell budget puts the program on shaky ground. Unfortunately, this spending plan does just that by quietly raiding $1.3 billion in Pell Grant funds, placing student grants at greater risk in future years.
"As we look toward the 2018 spending plan, we encourage the Trump Administration and Congressional leaders to keep Pell Grant funding intact, tie the grant amount to inflation, and continue increasing its purchasing power. Without securing the annual inflation adjustment, which is set to expire after this year, the market value of the Pell Grant will recede even further. Our nation’s students deserve long-term solutions and we must ensure the Pell Grant fulfills its intended purpose by helping each one realize his or her full potential through a college education."