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Education Funding

Budget Blueprint Would Cut Pell, Restore DC Vouchers

By Alyson Klein — April 05, 2011 1 min read

So in case you don’t already have budget fatigue, what with Spending Showdown 2011 in full swing, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chairman of the House Budget Committee, released his own budget blueprint, outlining broad spending parameters for the next fiscal year and beyond.

Keep in mind this Ryan budget is a whole different ball of wax from the spending bills for fiscal year 2011. That’s money to actually fund the government right now. This proposal, on the other hand, would set an overall direction for spending over the next few years, but generally doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty on specific programs.

For starters, Ryan wants to cut $5.8 trillion in government spending over the next decade. He’s also seeking to eliminate hundreds of what he calls “duplicative programs.” And he wants to bring non-security discretionary spending to below fiscal 2008 levels.

On education, Ryan wants to cut Pell Grants back to fiscal year 2008 levels. It’s not clear what this would mean for the maximum grant, which is $5,550 right now. The program got a total of $14.2 billion back then, compared to $23.1 billion now. But there was a lot less demand back then. For more background on the shaky Pell situation, check out this story.)

Ryan singles out just one education program for an increase: The DC Opportunity Scholarship program, which the House recently voted to restore. That program provides federal aid for low-income students to attend private schools in the nation’s capital.

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