Changes to Pell Grants agreed upon by Congress

Many students will be relieved to hear that the maximum amount of financial aid provided by Pell Grants will be maintained, reports the Huffington Post.

However, a compromise reached between the House of Representatives and the Senate means that fewer students will be eligible for Pell Grants under the new legislation.

"We had to make some very painful cuts in this bill to meet our allocation," Senator Tom Harkin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told the news source. "I am very pleased we could minimize the damage in education, maintain the maximum Pell Grant award and actually provide some increases for Head Start, Title I, special education and Promise Neighborhoods."

According to the New America Foundation, students with an income of less than $23,000 per year may be eligible to apply for the financial aid, lowered from $30,000. The number of years that students can use Pell Grants has also been reduced, from nine years to six.

When you're filling out college applications, talk to your college admissions counselor. Although the new laws may be confusing, they will be able to advise you about which financial aid packages you're eligible for and how to apply for them.

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