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Though budget cuts that the United States Congress passed last month went into effect for the 2011 fiscal year, one of its main education-related cuts won’t affect students studying at Penn this summer.

The Federal Pell Grant program, which awards grant money to students based on financial need, saw the summer component of its program mostly eliminated when President Barack Obama approved the budget proposal set forth by the Republican-dominated Congress.

Because both the President and Congress approved the summer federal Pell Grant cuts, it was not a surprise that they passed, Penn’s Associate Vice President of Federal Relations Bill Andresen said.

However, even before the 2011 fiscal year budget was passed, the economic crisis threatened some of Penn’s federally funded programs.

“We were facing a potential work-study shortfall because of growing numbers of aided students, largely a result of the recession, and static federal funding,” Student Financial Services director Bill Schilling wrote in an email.

This increased demand was met with money from the stimulus bill for the 2009-2010 year, but the funding was not renewed, Schilling added.

In reaction to this and to make Penn’s “federal work-study dollars go further,” SFS increased the percentage of student earnings that work-study employers must cover and reduced the maximum summer work-study amount from $6,000 to $5,550.

“Our goal is to bring expenditure of federal dollars into line with our allocation without significantly reducing work-study opportunities,” Schilling added.

The loss of summer Pell Grant funding, which will officially end after this upcoming summer, may result in an increase of loans given out in order to replace the grants, Schilling added.

However, final decisions will be made closer to summer 2012, when the cuts go into effect, he explained.

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