April 10, 2018 — Students with the highest amount of financial need have last month’s federal budget bill to thank for the increases they may soon see reflected on the financial aid award letters in their mailboxes and inboxes.
The fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill released last month included several unexpected victories for student aid programs and policies, including an increase of $175 to the maximum Federal Pell Grant—a need-based grant awarded to qualified low-income students to help defray the cost of college. As a result, the maximum Pell Grant award for students enrolled in the 2018-19 school year has jumped from $5,920 to $6,095.
Prior to passage of the spending bill, the U.S. Department of Education published Pell Grant payment schedules that instructed colleges and universities to use $5,920—the same maximum Pell Grant award as in the 2017-18 school year—to calculate their initial financial aid award offers to prospective students. Now, in light of the increase, schools that sent award letters out along with their offers of admission will need to send revised Pell Grant awards reflecting the new Pell Grant schedules published today.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) encourages students who were awarded Federal Pell Grants for 2018-19 to be on the lookout in the near future for a revised financial aid award letter from prospective schools.
The spending bill also provided a $107 million boost for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program and a $140 million increase for the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program. Schools have yet to receive their updated allocations for these programs for the 2018-19 year, but these increases could also lead to revised higher financial aid awards for some students. NASFAA policy experts and financial aid administrators can discuss these funding increases to federal student aid programs and what they could mean for students and their families.
Contact NASFAA Director of Communications Erin Powers at email@example.com to set up an interview.
Publication Date: 4/10/2018