On Feb. 13, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to save and create jobs, get the economy moving again, and transform it for long-term growth and stability.
The economic crisis combined with rising tuition prices and declining state support for higher education, threatens to put college out of reach for many students, but according to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, students and families will get help to pay for college with boosting federal student aid.
The act was put into place to make college more affordable for seven million students and is accessible for all qualified students. When combined with other increases, the maximum Pell Grant award will have increased by $1500 since the 2006-2007 school year. The Pell Grant Award will increase by $500 to $5,350 for 2009-2010 and to $5,550 for 2010-2011.
“Currently, we have approximately 5,400 students at FAMU that receive a Federal Pell Grant. As a result, of this new legislation, Federal Pell Grant recipients will receive an increase in annual funding,” said Marcia Boyd, the director of financial aid.
The American Reinvestment Act will also increase the higher education tax credit to a maximum of $2,500, making it available to millions of low- and moderate-income students who did not have access to the higher education tax credit in the past- by making it partially refundable.
As a result, nearly one-fifth of high school seniors who receive no tax credit under the current system will receive a tax cut to make college affordable for the first time.
The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities stated, “Together these proposals mean that low-income students and families on the brink of stopping or dropping out of their higher education plans can stay in, and that unemployed workers can choose retraining for a new job.”
Students feel the increased Pell Grant award will keep the burden off students who need loans.
“With more Pell Grant money I don’t have to get loans,” said Alicia Richardson, 24, a junior health information management student from Orlando.
Chelsea Bogdon, 19, a sophomore psychology student at Florida State said the Pell Grant Award is beneficial to those who are less fortunate.
“To have my college paid for and the free help from the government is a great way to get an education,” Bogdon said.
In addition, the act will add $490 million to the College Work-Study program that supports undergraduate and graduate students who work, allowing an additional 200,000 students to participate.
Also makes college more affordable by increasing the limit on unsubsidized Stafford loans by $2,000.