Pell Grants at 50: Loss of buying power has Congress rethinking ways of paying for college

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College affordability: Biden budget would double Pell Grant by 2029

President Joe Biden’s budget proposal to double Pell Grants by 2029 would help low-income families afford college but rising inflation and calls to cut spending make that goal difficult to achieve.

  • The Pell Grant program, which helps low-income students afford college, turns 50 this year.
  • The program has helped millions attend college but its buying power has slipped over time.
  • In his proposed budget, Biden proposes to double the annual Pell Grant to roughly $13,00 by 2029.

WASHINGTON – Congress just approved the largest increase for Pell Grants in a decade to help needy students pay for college.

And it didn’t even keep up with inflation.

Such is the state of the popular student aid program enacted 50 years ago. Pell’s buying power keeps diminishing despite its bipartisan popularity because the modest increases lawmakers keep approving largely fail to keep up with the rising cost of higher education.

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