Yesterday I received an e-mail from our union telling us that it looks like the state’s budget deficit next year will be less than expected. But what caught my eye was something about Pell grants. I mentioned in a previous post that the maximum Pell grant award would increase by $500. What I did not know, and what this e-mail informed me of, is that the State of Minnesota deducts Pell grant awards from state grant eligibility. The state is viewing this as a big windfall: a boatload of money (estimated at $69 million) students used to receive from the state grant fund will now come from the federal government instead, so the state can use that money somewhere else. Our union hopes it stays in our budget to prevent other funding cuts, but some of it is likely to go to other areas of the state budget.
For students, this basically means that if you were receiving both state grants and Pell grants, your total grant may very well remain unchanged: Pell grants go up, state grants go down by the exact amount. Bummer. Just thought you should know before you head out to your Spring Break destination thinking you have an extra $500 to blow.