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President Joe Biden asked Congress to increase the maximum Pell grants for students by $ 400 annually as part of a budget proposal released Friday.

The president also called for the eligibility of undocumented immigrants known as dreamers to be expanded.

Pell Scholarships are available to students who have exceptional financial needs. Unlike loans, they usually do not have to be repaid.

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If passed by Congress, Biden’s budget would result in the largest one-time annual federal grant increase since 2009, according to the proposal signed by Shalanda Young, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Currently, according to the Department of Education, students can receive a maximum of $ 6,495 in scholarship for the 2021-22 award year starting July 1.

Amounts vary based on criteria such as school fees, full or part-time status, and information provided on the FAFSA State Student Aid Form (Free State Student Aid Application).

Doubling of the Pell grants

The Biden administration positioned the increase as a first step towards the president’s goal of ultimately doubling the scholarship available to students.

The increase would encourage greater racial justice and lower financial barriers for low- and middle-income students pursuing a college degree, the administration said.

“To reduce the racial disparities in higher education that have worsened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the discretionary motion takes a significant first step towards doubling the Pell grant by proposing to increase the maximum grant by $ 400 increase, “says the proposal.

The budget request applies to discretionary federal spending for fiscal year 2022, which begins October 1.

The proposal would also provide Pell grants for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and are recipients of deferred child arrivals.

The DACA program, launched during the Obama administration, enables those known as dreamers to stay in the country for a period that needs renewal. However, DACA recipients are not eligible for government grants such as grants or loans.

Biden’s budget would provide the Department of Education with an additional $ 3 billion for the measures.

In total, the application is $ 102.8 billion for the education department, an increase of around 41% over the amount waived in 2021.