An increase in Pell Grants was cut back in the revised student aid reform legislation.

An increase in Pell Grants was cut back in the revised student aid reform legislation.

Congressional Democrats on March 18 trimmed their original student loan plans, reduced spending for community colleges, and eliminated early childhood money from a broad rewrite of a college aid bill piggybacked on to fast-track health care legislation.

The student loan measure would be the biggest change in college assistance programs since Congress created them in the 1960s, ending a private-lender program by having the government originate all loans to needy students.

But facing savings smaller than anticipated from the switch and a shortfall in Pell Grant money for low-income students, Democrats are proposing no increases in Pell Grants over the next two years and a modest increase over the five years that follow.

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