House Democrats last week introduced a bill that would prohibit the Department of Education from using updated tax tables to calculate eligibility for Pell Grants.
Using the new tables, which have not been updated for more than a decade, could cause nearly 90,000 students to lose their federal college-tuition grants, and 1.2 million students to get smaller grants. But Republicans who support using the new tax tables say the change would save $300 million and eventually allow an increase in the maximum Pell Grant, which has been frozen at $4,050 for the past three years. (“Under Budget Bill, Some Students Facing a Reduction in College Aid,” Dec. 8, 2004.)
Rep. George Miller of California, the ranking Democrat on the House education committee, along with Reps. Timothy H. Bishop of New York and Rush D. Holt of New Jersey, introduced the bill that aims to stop the changes from taking place.
The Education Department announced in late December that it would make the change for the 2005-06 year.
“We are trying to prevent Republicans from raising the price of college,” Mr. Miller said in a statement.
Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, criticized the bill in a statement, saying it would “cheat taxpayers and poor students.”
A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2005 edition of Education Week