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Higher Ed Watch

A Blog from New America's Higher Education Initiative

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Forecasting the Pell Grant Budget Crisis

Published:  April 7, 2011

As readers of Higher Ed Watch well know, the budget battles raging on Capitol Hill these days could have profound implications for the future of Pell Grants, the primary source of federal student aid for low-income students. Both the White House and Congressional Republicans agree that the program is on an unsustainable path, but they have very different prescriptions for how to deal with this problem. House Republican leaders have proposed reducing the maximum Pell Grant, while the Obama administration favors making targeted reductions in the government’s student aid programs to keep the $5,550 maximum award in place. Meanwhile, there is growing recognition even among the program's most fervent supporters that action needs to be taken to get the program's costs under control.

While the seriousness of this Pell Grant budget crisis may have taken some policymakers and advocates by surprise, it was hardly unpredictable. Jason Delisle, the director of New America's Federal Education Budget Project, has been sounding the alarms for several years now both here and on our sister blog Ed Money Watch. In fact, he was among the first student aid experts in the country to warn that a day of reckoning was coming.

Now that this problem is all over the news, we thought it would be helpful to take a look back to see what Jason had to say. Here are some highlights of his past coverage:

At Higher Ed Watch, we will continue to follow this debate closely and offer some policy proposals of our own. Stay tuned.

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