FY2011 Spending Bill Eliminates Year-Round Pell and LEAP

Congress has not released the full text of the fiscal year (FY) 2011 spending bill, but additional details released early this morning show that year-round Pell and the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) Program would be eliminated. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is expected to issue guidance in the coming days.

The summaries posted by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees indicate that the 2011-12 maximum Pell award will be maintained at $5,550. The bill would also eliminate the Byrd Honors Scholarship Program and cut funding for several programs without completely eliminating them. These cuts include:

  • $20 million cut from the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
  • $25 million cut from the Federal TRIO Programs
  • $20 million cut from the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)

The summary posted by the House Appropriations Committee also indicates a 0.2% across-the-board cut for all federal programs. It remains unclear exactly how this across-the-board cut will affect federal student aid programs.

Congress is expected to vote on the bill as early as Thursday.

Overall, the bill cuts federal spending by nearly $40 billion, the largest cut to federal spending in a single year. It cuts a host of education programs including Teach for America, Even Start, and Education Technology State Grants, as well as other federal programs including emergency first responders, the National Endowment for the Arts and high-speed rail. Cuts to ED programs were relatively small compared to cuts to the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Justice, Labor and Health and Human Services.

NASFAA will provide additional information about the bill's impact on federal student aid programs as details become available.