November 22, 2004

Tight federal budget for 2005 limits increases for student aid and academic research

Congress approved on Nov. 20 a $388-billion spending bill for the 2005 fiscal year that would raise the budget for the National Institutes of Health by $800-million, to $28.6-billion, while freezing the maximum Pell Grant at $4,050 for the third consecutive year. Higher education advocates have expressed concern that the bill does not contain language that would block revisions to the formula used to determine eligibility for federal student aid. In the absence of such a provision, the Bush administration is expected to change the formula in a way that could make thousands of students ineligible for Pell Grants. College lobbyists and leaders also have expressed concern over the scheduled $111-million cut to The National Science Foundation appropriation.

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