Free Community College Is Out of Biden’s Plan, but a Bigger Pell Grant Could Still Help Cut Costs

President Joe Biden's plan to make tuition free at community colleges is unlikely to make it into the final bill to expand the nation's social safety net. But boosting the federal Pell grant is still on the table and could have a big impact for low-income students.

The latest proposal would add $500 to the maximum Pell grant, currently set at $6,495. The award -- a key part of the federal financial aid system since the 1970s -- doesn't need to be paid back and can be used by qualifying low-income students to pay for tuition, fees, room and board, as well as other education-related costs.The proposed boost is smaller than the $1,400 increase Biden originally called for in his Build Back Better agenda and falls well short of his campaign pledge to double the maximum amount, something many Democrats have been pushing in recent years.

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