Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) (former Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush) is quoted in today’s Congressional Quarterly as stating that cuts to the Pell Grant program, along with the rest of the domestic discretionary budget, are on the table as Congress now attempts to reduce spending through the FY11 and FY12 appropriations processes.
In December 2010, the former Congress passed a temporary spending measure intended to keep the government running while lawmakers try to agree on a permanent budget for the current fiscal year. The spending measure included $5.7 billion to plug a deficit in the Pell program, created by expanded student eligibility. The funding seemingly stabilized Pell for the coming 2011-12 academic year. However, Congress can undo much of that as they finalize fiscal year 2011 appropriations. Support for Pell will be at the forefront of UW advocacy efforts in the coming weeks.