Experts expect lawmakers to keep Pell Grant funding at its current level.

Washington’s last-minute budget deal did not include a provision that would have killed a stringent for-profit college regulation, and Pell Grants remained intact despite deep cuts in education spending over the next six months.

The for-profit regulations pushed by the Obama administration for more than two years would impact some of the nation’s largest online colleges, such as the University of Phoenix and Kaplan University, by stripping schools of federal loan money if too many of their students maintain high loan debt-to-income ratios, among other provisions.

Although the anti-regulation provision was pushed primarily by Congressional Republicans, a bipartisan letter was submitted April 4 that would have barred the U.S. Department of Education (ED) from implementing the new regulations on for-profit programs.

The provision – or “rider” – to the budget compromise was left out of the final agreement, however, paving the way for gainful employment rules to take effect July 1, 2012, as ED outlined last fall.

The austere federal budget also left Pell Grants at the current maximum of $5,550 per student. Pell Grants are awarded to college students based on their financial need and are not paid back to the government…

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