Possible Pell Grant Increase Could Benefit UT Students

Paying for college is often a top concern for students and their families, perhaps more so now than ever before. With the cost of an education constantly on the rise, financial awards, while helpful, are often not enough to keep students out of debt.

However, things might be about to get a little easier. On Sept. 5, Democratic Congressional leaders reached an agreement on an education budget legislation that should give students and their families some relief.

The compromise aims to increase the maximum Pell Grant (federal need-based grants) to $5,400 by 2012. Congress plans on financing this increase by cutting federal payments to student loan providers.

The compromise would be “the single biggest infusion of federal student aid in 60 years,” according to chairmen in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

So how will all of this affect UT students? It’s all good news according to Barbara Strickler, the Vice President for Enrollment in the financial aid office.

The increase in the Pell Grant will help those who qualify, an estimated 900 UT students.

Additionally, cuts on federal payments would mean lower student and parent loan interest rates. Last year, students and parents at UT received $72 million in some form of educational loan.

“Ideally, this would make a private education more accessible to lower income families,” said Strickler.

However, she does place some caution on all of this. Both houses of Congress still need to vote on and pass the budget legislation and hope that there is no veto from President Bush.

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