As Congress begins hearings on the federal budget for fiscal 2010, officials at traditional universities and online colleges alike said President Obama's budget proposal would make grants available to more college students and encourage adults to earn degrees and bolster their resumes during an economic downturn that has seen the job market stagnate.

The Obama administration's federal education budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 includes a major shift in the Pell grant program, which would increase by 13 percent--making more money available while expanding eligibility. The maximum Pell grant under the new plan would be $5,500.

The federal government would continue


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