Pell Grants are government funds issued to students in financial need to help cover their cost of a college education. The government has lately been pumping lots of money into Pell Grants. So lots more students are now able to afford a college education, right?

Not so fast. Because the government is pumping money into Pell Grants, colleges and universities now have more access to government funds. With more money available to them, they can charge more. And so tuitions and other costs of education are going up, making college less affordable (certainly to those who can’t demonstrate financial need and thus can’t get Pell Grants).

According to Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education,

colleges and universities need to get tuition under control. He likened the trends in costs and federal aid to a treadmill, where prices rise, federal money gets pumped in, and costs increase again.

“Unless governors and legislatures stiffen their spines and not allow schools to pass so much of the cost on to families, we are never going to make a dent in access and affordability,” said Mr. Callan, whose research group tracks higher-education issues.