Pell Grant Growth

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Pell Grants were established in 1972 by Congress as the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant program and took effect a year later. The grants were created to help low-income students pay the costs of postsecondary education. Many experts in student aid, however, say the amount of the awards has failed to keep pace with the rising costs of college. Adjusting the $1,400 maximum award in 1975 for inflation, the maximum grant's value fell from $4,205 to $3,300 in 2000-01, according to a study by the American Council on Education.The following table shows how participation in the program, and the amount of money the federal government has devoted to it, have grown over time:

Pell Grant Growth

Year Budget Maximum
1973-74 $122 million $452 176,000
1978-79 2.1 billion 1,600 1,893,000
1983-84 2.4 billion 1,800 2,758,906
1988-89 4.2 billion 2,200 3,198,286
1993-94 6.4 billion 2,300 3,755,675
1998-99 7.3 billion 3,000 3,855,180
1999-00 7.7 billion 3,125 3,763,710
2000-01 7.6 billion 3,300 3,912,000
2001-02 8.7 billion 3,750 4,284,000
2002-03 10.3 billion 4,000 4,444,000

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education

Vol. 21, Issue 33, Page 25

Published in Print: May 1, 2002, as Pell Grant Growth
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