FY11 budget details: a mixed bag for education

The federal budget deal negotiated to avoid a government shutdown would remove the strings a Democratic congressman had attached to $830 million in stimulus funds for public education in Texas.

If passed into law as expected later this week, the bill would remove a requirement that Republican Gov. Rick Perry use the funds to supplement existing school spending rather than just replace state funds.”

The current maximum Pell Grant award of $5,500 will remain, with a total of $23 billion allocated for Pell Grants. An earlier version of the budget would have reduced the maximum grant by $845, for a total funding amount of $17.5 billion.

The bill eliminates the year-round Pell Grant option, however, which lets students receive two Pell Grants per year if they attend school throughout the summer.

In the months ahead, it’s likely that this array of cuts and changes is only the beginning. Before the ink was even dry on the FY11 deal, the debate had already begun in Washington over raising the national debt limit, and that fight seems sure to bring renewed demands for still more changes in education spending.

Laura Ascione

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