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US: Obama budget sustains Pell grants but cuts perks

In a 2012 budget blueprint that administration officials portrayed as austere and Republicans derided as profligate, President Barack Obama kept his promise to privilege spending on education and research - though not without some potential pain for programmes important to colleges and students, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed.

In many of its priorities and emphases, the president's proposed budget for 2012 stood in stark contrast to legislation put forward by House Republicans recently to fund the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which ends in September. While the GOP measure would slash the maximum Pell Grant by $845, end funding for several other student aid programmes, and slice billions of dollars from agencies that support academic research, the Obama budget for 2012 keeps those and other programmes largely intact.

That doesn't mean, however, that the Obama budget would be pain-free for colleges and students. Given the enormous growth of the Pell Grant Programme in the last two years, for instance, the programme now faces a $20 billion deficit by the end of 2012, and the administration had to make "tough choices" to sustain the maximum grant at $5,550, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site
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