More than 8 million students received Pell Grants in 2009-10, up from 6.2 million in 2008-09, according to the U.S. Department of Education's 2009-10 Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report. The increase in Pell recipients fueled rising costs for the Pell program as total program spending increased from $18.3 billion in 2008-09 to nearly $30 billion in 2009-10. The current debate in Congress over reducing the deficit has made the growing Pell Grant program a target for spending cuts. Though Congress is just beginning the FY2012 budget process, the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate will have to reach a compromise before they come to a final agreement on spending levels.
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