The house will vote tomorrow on raising the maximum Pell Grant, the nation's largest need-based college aid grant, by $260 to $4310. The grant has been frozen for the past four years even as college tuitions have increased year after year.
The PIRGs call this "a major step in the right direction." (Student advocates want it up to $5100, a figure that's been floating around, or even better, to restore its 1980s buying power, which would put it around $7200).
Rep. Miller points out how they're planning on paying for it:
"To pay for this increase in the Pell Grant scholarship, Chairmen Obey and Bird have eliminated earmarks from the budget altogether. Chairmen Obey and Byrd will be the first to say that earmarks can be beneficial. But because the process for awarding earmarks is fundamentally broken, many earmarks were just plain pork. Until reform of the earmark process is complete, this resolution makes the difficult but appropriate choice. It says taht the new Democratic Congress is more interested in helping students than it is in reckless special interest giveaways."
Amen to that.