College aid budget tightens

The state tuition grant pool will be $10 million less than expected next year, due to an over-awarding of grants.

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The number of students receiving state tuition grants may fall by more than half this year, due to a shrinking grant funding pool.

The Oregon Student Assistance Commission, the agency in charge of distributing the grants spent $20 million more than expected, cutting into the budget for the coming school year.

The Opportunity Grant is the state’s main need-based college aid program, awarding tuition grants to students based on financial need as determined by standards used in the federal Pell Grant program. The state program expanded in the 2007-09 biennium when legislators more than doubled its budget as part of Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s push to sharply increase the number of Oregonians with a college degree…

With far more students seeking aid than expected — and far more of those students qualifying for the maximum grants — the models the agency used to determine the number of grants to award failed.

Read the whole story at The Register-Guard.

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