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Business and Policy Areas
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Report Decries Decline in Pell Grant Purchasing Power

March 23, 2005

Federal Pell grants have not maintained their purchasing power and are on track to cover only 25 percent of the total price of attending college by 2010, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. The examination of Pell grants was part of a larger review of access to postsecondary education by low-income students and the equality of college affordability across the states.

The purchasing power of Pell grants would have to be more than doubled to bring the Pell back to the point of the program’s initiation in 1972, even when President Bush’s proposal to increase the maximum award by $500 over the next five years is factored in.

As the gap between the price of college and the Pell grant grows, students will be required to take on additional loans, making the president’s proposal to eliminate the Perkins Loan program even more glaring, according to the report.

The Center for American Progress is a Washington-based policy group run by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta.

The full report is available on the Center for American Progress Web site.