Victory! In late December 2010, Congress voted to extend a $2,500 tax credit for families who are paying for college until 2012. Not only that - federal Pell Grants escaped the budget ax as well with a temporary reprieve. They'll be fully funded until March 4, 2011. Read more at our victory blog post.
College will get a lot more expensive if Congress does not act soon to save two programs that help millions of Americans pay for education and training. The Pell Grant program currently faces a projected $5.7 billion budget shortfall that could shrink the maximum grant next year by a whopping $845; and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), a refundable credit worth up to $2,500 a year for college, is set to expire next month. These two programs are the most important tools we have to make college more affordable for low- and middle-income families, and they are both in grave danger.
Pell Grants help nearly 9 million students afford college and post-secondary job training. Without a Pell Grant, many would not be able go to college or would have to take out more student loans. Failure to fill the projected $5.7 billion funding gap will mean hundreds of thousands of students will get no Pell Grant at all next year, and millions more will have their grants cut. If Congress lets the AOTC expire next month, millions of Americans struggling to pay for college will experience a tax increase, and millions more will lose the eligibility entirely.
We can't go backwards and lose the crucial ground we've gained in just the past few years. Please send a message to your members of Congress TODAY, urging them to make college affordability a top priority in the current "lame-duck" legislative session.
Photo credit: Steven DePolo via Flickr