President Bush has announced he will seek to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $100 per year for the next five years.
Speaking at Florida Community College in Gainesville on Jan. 14, Mr. Bush said he would propose in his fiscal 2006 budget that the maximum Pell Grant award should increase to $4,550 by 2010.
The maximum award has been frozen at $4,050 for the past three years, with administration officials citing a $4.3 billion shortfall in the Pell Grant program. The president said his budget would close that shortfall.
The president also proposed setting aside $33 million for “enhanced Pell grants,” which would give an additional $1,000 to students from low-income families who follow rigorous high school curricula.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Senate education committee, said in a statement that he welcomes the president’s proposal, but he warned families of hopeful students “not to count their chickens before they hatch.”
“President Bush has walked away from all his promises to raise Pell Grants since his first year in office,” Sen. Kennedy said.
Democrats criticized the Bush administration last month when the Department of Education announced it would start using updated tax tables to calculate Pell Grants, a change that is expected to shut out 90,000 students and reduce the awards for 1.2 million more.
A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week