March 20th, 2010
10:15 AM ET
5 years ago

Pell grants on the line

Washington (CNNMoney.com) - On Sunday, the House is set to vote on an historic overhaul of the nation's health care system. It will also take up an issue that will get far less attention but could affect the wallets of millions of Americans.

The nation's popular Pell grant program, which provides federal grants to millions of Americans based on financial need, is facing a $19 billion budget gap.

The economic downturn is a big part of the cause. Federal officials who run the program were caught off guard by the sheer number of people who went back to school and earned low enough incomes to qualify for the grants. They underestimated the number of recipients for this year by 765,000.

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Filed under: Education • Health care
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Ohio

    Oh, just great...more taxes so the government can spend more to prop up the left wing academics.

    March 20, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. dan smith

    Quit living off my dime. Get a job.

    March 20, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Chris in NY

    "Oh, just great...more taxes so the government can spend more to prop up the left wing academics."

    God for bid that we have educated citizens and people who can form and make intelligent and informed thoughts and decisions

    March 20, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Daryl

    There is a lot more than Pell grants in this hogwash, Health Care forced, bill.

    March 20, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. JJ

    What ELSE is HIDDEN in this bill as Obama continues to take over total control of our lives???????

    March 20, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. LaChatte

    Kevin, you're a shining example of the kind of partisan politics that are destroying the United States! Education is everyone's concern.

    March 20, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Seth

    It is good that Americans are updating their skills to compete better in the world economy.
    A smarter American is a wealthier America.

    We need to give more Americans the opportunity to improve their education/skills so America can maintain its world dominance.

    March 20, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Peter 31

    These pels make it possible for our higher education system to work. Without them millions would not finish college. Or in republican term more people earning less or on welfare. kinda a circle with you guys . Pel grants are there for a reason I would pay extra taxes for them hands down.

    March 20, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Bryan

    Left wing academics? Really? So, having a college degree makes one a commie?

    An education is the only chance for a child from a struggling family. Without an education, they are doomed to repeat the cycle furthering the burden on all gov't and non-gov't social services. As a taxpayer, helping pay for an education now is a much better choice than paying for welfare later.

    March 20, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Kevin in NY

    In response to Kevin in Ohio: A student (possibly older) who lost their job and is getting a degree so that they are better able to get a job to feed their family. Yeah, sounds like "left wing academics" to me!

    March 20, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Hammerer

    With the government control of student loans Obama will decide who gets assistance to attend college.
    And he claims that he is not socialist.

    March 20, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    Washington has zero concept of how many people in America, are living on the edge of poverty.

    The fat cats have no concept, because they are so wealthy themselves, they have zero knowledge of the true poverty in America.

    Worse, they send billions in aid to foreign countries, to line dictators pockets, while Americans suffer.

    March 20, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. John

    We never learn. We actually help people go to school, and some of those people actually study economics and yet THEY don't learn. The reason college costs so much (I bought a crappy textbook that fell apart a few weeks later for $130) is because the money is freely available. We just get subsidies, loans, and grants (even use credit cards) to pay for it all. It's basic economics people, sure, you'll get more students into the system at first, but, just like healthcare, you end up with an inflated system created by the free supply of money: money is available so more services and products are made available at higher prices which get consumed without too much regard to the cost because it's easy to make more money available. Soon, NOBODY can afford the products and services on their own without government subsidy. Eventually the bubble has to burst and you're going to have providers and consumers left with the pain of waiting for the system to restabilize at more sustainable levels of consumption and revenue... and then the whole process will start over again because this IS a democracy populated mainly by people who never learn.

    March 20, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Fed Up

    Why would the student loan bill be put into the health reform bill? Let's see.... I'll bet it's so the Democrats can say that the Republicans are against higher education! That works. These people are so transparent (in every way other than "transparency") that's it's pitiful. Vote 'em in. Vote 'em out.

    March 20, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Jordan B. Hodgson

    Kevin if you see the world in left and right pretenses then you have already shown you lack the ability to critical analyze the world.

    Please, define a "left wing academic". Any stereotype is simply ignorant because you are assuming that an individual is exactly like their "title".

    Perhaps it would be more effective to focus your criticism inward.

    March 20, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. HypocriCNNation!

    The Future Of The Pell Grant Is A Very Serious Issue And Needs To Be Taken Seriously.

    March 20, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Independent One

    I don't look back alot but it is really sad the condition the Bush Adm left this county...We diffently spent too much in wars

    March 20, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. John

    It's the same with minimum wages... the liberals think they're helping, and they ARE, but only for a little while until the higher cost of minimum wage labor ripples into higher costs elsewhere and those minimum wage laborers are back where they started in real terms. The funny part is, I think many liberals actually know this, but they don't mind playing the game of constantly upping the minimum wage just so those people are "getting ahead" for those periods of time. Then they wonder why conservatives are always trying to lower taxes for a little while to TRY and restrict the invention of new entitlements and give higher earning people the same temporary "breaks" given to minimum wage people.

    March 20, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This is something that Americans want and need to survive!!!!!

    March 20, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Maggie in Canada

    Kevin in Ohio: Looks like you should consider getting an education too. It might help your disposition. However I doubt it.

    March 20, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Kevin, you are such a dingbat! Pell grants provide educational opportunity to those deserving students who happened to not be born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

    Besides, what you rather have: An educated populace or an uneducated one?

    There are plenty of people who've received Pell Grants from all across the country who went on to successful careers in a wide variety of fields. They pay taxes, they're upstanding citizens and are of great benefit to our country.

    Your knee-jerk response to everything just shows how bitter you are.

    You seriously need to take a chill pill and start appreciating life.

    March 20, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Richard Larson

    This grant is probably the single most productive Federal grant in this nation's history ranking only below the GI Bill enacted at the end or World War II. The nation reaps the benefits of these grants every day.

    The program must be fully funded regardless of any Republican effort to impose their agenda of class warfare against the middle and lower class students this program assists most or any diversion to the Defense Department where it would be wasted on a razzle-dazzle weapons program that isn't needed right now.

    March 20, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Get the facts straight: The Federal Government a few days ago announced people who have not re-paid grant loans will not see an income tax refund which will reduce this deficit. RESEARCH FOR YOURSELF BEFORE SCREAMING TAX AND SPEND.

    March 20, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Preston kathy

    I think it is un fare when you and your wife work and you can not get aid because they say you make to much money but you can barely eat you have to be on wellfare or on drugsoran ex con

    March 20, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Bob of Lompoc

    First step to close the Pell Grant Budget Gap: Garnish Senator Bunning's salary, pension and health benefits value, and dump it into the Pell Grant hopper. Let the empty headed redneck sweat for a while. Visit upon him what he did to the unemployed and a large group of Federal employees.

    March 20, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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