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Congress Cuts Federal Financial Aid For Needy Students

Congress will cut $303 million in funding for a federal program that allows many of the nation’s poorest students attend college, part of a massive spending package to keep the federal government open through the end of the year.

The measure, championed by Senate Democrats, would cut Pell Grants in order to free up money to pay companies that collect student loans on behalf of the Department of Education. Nine million students benefited from the $33.7 billion Pell Grant program in the 2013-2014 school year.

The program, created in 1972, awards money that does not have to be repaid to students whose household incomes are typically $30,000 or less. Nearly two-thirds of African American undergraduates receive Pell funding, as do 51 percent of Latino undergrads, according to the Education Trust.