NEW HEALTH CARE REFORM ACT WILL BENEFIT PELL GRANTS
The number of American students opting for higher education is at an all-time high, consequently increasing the demand for funds to pay for it. A large percentage of students depend on Stafford Loans, education grants, scholarships and Pell Grants to help pay for their education. The new Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act has made applying for student loans and college grants even more desirable.
This ground-breaking bill marks the first legislation in Congress to address the Pell Grant program that provides free federal aid to deserving students from low-income backgrounds. According to the Act, the current Pell Grant award of $5,550 per year will be increased to $5,975 between 2013 and 2017.
During 2008-2009, more than 600,000 students availed of this grant and it is estimated that by 2020, an additional 820,000 Pell Grants will be made available. Besides, the maximum annual amount will increase marginally from $5,550 to $5,975 per grant.
This grant increase would come from the $61 billion saved over 10 years by putting an end to the Federal Family Education Loan (FEEL) program.
Also, over the last two years, the formulas to determine the grant amount have been adjusted, resulting in more students becoming eligible to receive these college grants. Students may apply for a grant online. Those who fill out the FAFSA and are deemed eligible will have the government directly disburse the grant money to their schools.
While the maximum amount of this grant only partly covers the cost of attending colleges like Cornell or UW, it can cover the complete tuition for a stay-at-home student attending community college. The best thing is that the amount need never be paid back.
The Federal Pell Grant Program has helped many students obtain the college education they could never afford otherwise, and the new Act promises to benefit many more.