House GOP FY2012 Budget Outline Would Deny Pell Grants to 1.4M Students

New data from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) shows that 1.4 million students would be denied Pell Grants in 2012-13 under a fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget proposal passed last week by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. House Republicans first began pushing for Pell Grant cuts in the FY2011 budget, but their efforts were largely thwarted when a deal was struck to preserve the $5,550 maximum Pell Grant for the 2011-12 award year. Now the battle to maintain Pell funding has moved to the FY2012 budget. 

The budget proposal (known as a budget resolution) would limit eligibility requirements and cut the maximum Pell Grant award to pre-stimulus levels, bringing the maximum award to $3,040 for the 2012-13 award year (AY) and to its lowest level since 1998, according to a statement by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Miller released the ED data showing how the House Republican's budget resolution would impact Pell recipients in each state to generate opposition to House GOP budget resolution.

“The Republican budget has America’s priorities exactly backward, and that is evident in their decision to cut Pell to its lowest level in more than a decade,” Miller said in a statement. “The Pell Grant is an equalizer for college students – it makes the dream of a college degree a reality for millions of students each year. It is shameful and completely unbalanced to shovel millions of dollars to the biggest oil companies in the world while denying so many young Americans the chance at a college education.”

The ED data shows how many students in each state would lose Pell Grants and how much the average award would be cut. In California, 130,210 of the 1.06 million Pell Grant recipients would lose their awards and the average Pell award of $3,701 would be reduced by $1,726 in 2012-13 under the budget resolution passed in the House. In New York, 76,744 of the 548,058 recipients would lose their awards and the average $4,682 award would be reduced by $2,719.

NASFAA combined efforts with other higher education organizations to launch a campaign to mobilize students, educators and administrators to lobby for preservation of the Pell Grant program in the FY2011 budget budget debate, and those efforts continue for FY2012. To join the effort to prevent future cuts to the Pell Grant program, visit NASFAA's Take Action page.