Many people don’t remember 1972. To be truthful, the majority of Americans alive today weren’t born then. It was the height of Watergate, David Bowie was shocking the world with his outlandish behavior and the hot movie was The Godfather and the top TV show was All In The Family. At this time, a Senator from Rhode Island, Claiborne De Borda Pell, was rewriting the rules regarding how people got college grants.

One of the beneficiaries of such a grant was one Claiborne Pell. He obtained his Bachelors before World War II, and then served in the Great War until it ended in 1945. From there, he got his Masters from Columbia University thanks in part to the GI Bill. He would go on to be part of the officials that created the United Nations and become a U.S. Senator.

In 1972, Pell promoted an act to create the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, also known as the BEOG. It would provide federal money, based on need, for academically worthy students to achieve advanced degrees. It became so successful that in 1980, Congress renamed it to the Pell Grant, which this act still goes by.

Over the years, the grant has changed considerably. Over the years, it had expanded its qualifications, allowing more and more students to get this pell grants. That’s ended up being a two-edged sword. While the number grants permitted has grown geometrically, the cost of going for that degree, whether for a campus or online degree, has risen even more.

When it comes to obtaining college grants, the U.S. Department of Education has just released a report that’s truly cautionary. It shows the maximum amount of money one can get from Pell Grants has increased to as much as $5,350, the cost of higher education has increased to over $15,000 per year.

Even with President Obama pushing for an increase next year to $5,750 a year, these college grants will only cover barely a third of overall college costs. The cost of a higher education is clearly outstripping the money the Fed is willing to give.

For comparison, USA Today reports that when the Pell started in 1973, the maximum grant was $452, but the average tuition at that time was $438. In hard numbers, if Obama’s proposal goes through, the Pell will have gone up 1275%. At the same time, costs have exploded by 3400%, nearly three times faster than the money provided to the Pell. To top it, state student loans have shrunk considerably, citing the current economy as the reason.

The good news is there still are plenty of other college grants besides the Pell. Private grants like the one Lady Mowlson gave Harvard are out there. It takes work, stamina and patience to get more than just the Pell Grant. You just have to look for them, and you could be on your way to that Bachelors degree everyone needs to advance in these modern times.

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