INSIDE HIGHER ED. APRIL 11, 2013. Federal spending on the Pell Grant Program declined slightly during the first half of the 2012-13 award year compared to the same period during the previous two years, according to new data released by the American Association of Community Colleges. Almost all of the spending decrease is for Pell recipients who attended community colleges and for-profit institutions. The number of recipients at public two-year institutions declined by 193,339, according to the association, with Pell spending on that sector dipping by $358 million. Recipients at for-profits were down 115,322 with a corresponding decrease of $131 million in spending. The program's cost also declined in the previous fiscal year.