House Democrats Seek to Protect Pell Spending

November 3, 2016

More than 120 House Democrats, led by Virginia Representative Bobby Scott, called in a letter Wednesday for the House and Senate appropriations committees to use resources in the Pell Grant program only for improving college access.

The $7.8 billion surplus for the Pell Grant program should go toward meeting the needs of low-income college students, the letter says.

"Specifically, we urge you to utilize the FY 2017 appropriations process as an opportunity to further the goal of the Pell Grant program by using a portion of the surplus to lessen the burden of college costs for needy students through restoration of year-round Pell and an increase in the maximum discretionary award," the letter says. "And we ask that you protect the remainder of the surplus for the sole use of the Pell Grant program."

Scott is the ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which oversees higher ed policy issues. But decisions on Pell Grant funding are among a number of spending issues being considered by appropriators negotiating a Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill.

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