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House GOP Budget Proposes Freezing Maximum Pell Grant, Cutting $5.1 Trillion in Federal Spending Over 10 Years

April 02, 2014

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​House Republicans yesterday introduced a budget proposal for FY 2015 that would freeze the maximum Pell Grant award for 10 years and roll back other recent expansions of that program as part of a budget-balancing spending plan that cuts $5.1 trillion over a decade, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The plan, crafted by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), would freeze the maximum Pell Grant award at the current $5,730 and impose an unspecified income cap on recipients, as well as making Pell Grants off limits to students who attend college less than half time.

The proposal also would place all Pell Grant funding in the discretionary spending category, meaning all funding each year would be up to the discretion of lawmakers, reports Inside Higher Ed.

An editorial in The New York Times notes that the budget proposal would cut overall nondefense discretionary spending by $791 billion over 10 years, below levels already agreed on with the Senate, resulting in large cuts to education, job training, medical research and other domestic programs. The budget would raise military spending by $483 billion over the current 10-year caps.

The New York Times also reports that total education funding would be cut by $145 billion over 10 years. While Pell Grant funding would decrease by $90 billion, college students would be charged interest on their loans while still in school, reaping $40 billion for federal coffers.

However, most observers agree that even if the Ryan budget passes the House, it has virtually no chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate.​

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