Press Release

The Education Trust’s Statement on CBO’s Pell Baseline

Publication date: Mar 24, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, José Luis Santos, vice president for higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust issued the following statement:

“Today the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Pell baseline. These estimates will be used to guide Congressional spending decisions for the coming fiscal year.

“Some have argued that Pell costs are unsustainable, but the CBO estimates show that the program has enough funding to restore year-round Pell, a policy with bipartisan support that incents completion and reduces college costs for low-income students. As Congress considers the budget, please remember that Pell is not a piggy bank to pay for other programs, and that the budget cannot be balanced on the backs of students.

“Pell Grants provide access to college for low-income students who might not otherwise attend. Pell serves more than 8 million students, most from families making $40,000 or less. Nearly half of all Latino undergraduate students and more than 60 percent of African American students receive Pell grants. In the 1980s, Pell Grants covered more than half the cost of attending a four-year public college, but in the coming academic year, Pell will cover less than 30 percent of college costs — the lowest in 40 years.

“Congress has the opportunity to preserve and strengthen this vital resource. We look forward to working with lawmakers to make this a reality.”

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