Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) Presented With 2022 Henry Paley Memorial Award

February 25, 2022

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) received NAICU's 2022 Henry Paley Memorial Award during the Association’s 2022 Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day.
“Sen. Roy Blunt has long been a strong supporter and advocate for private, nonprofit higher education and college students everywhere,” said NAICU President Barbara K. Mistick, D.M.  “As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Pell Grant, Sen. Blunt’s support of the program generally, and his efforts to increase both the maximum award and its total funding, specifically, have made him a Congressional champion of this critical student aid program.”
Named for Henry Paley, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York from 1975-1984, the award recognizes an individual who embodies Paley’s spirit of unfailing service toward the students and faculty of independent colleges and universities. Paley Award recipients have set an example for all who would seek to advance educational opportunity in the United States.
“I want to thank you for the award and for the hard job you do,” Sen Blunt told the audience of largely private, nonprofit university presidents in accepting the award.  “You need to be standing up strong for what independent higher education does for America and for the students you uniquely get a chance to serve.”
“One of the great strengths of the post-World War II higher education system, from the VA grants right after the war to Pell Grant 20 years later, is that they have been available to all accredited institutions,” Blunt continued.  “Competition is a good thing, choice is good thing in higher education.”
Sen. Blunt serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations and has been chairman or ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education since 2015.  In those roles, he has been a champion for increased access to higher education through the Pell Grant program, the foundation of federal student aid programs, and worked to increase funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health.
Under Sen. Blunt’s leadership, the Pell Grant maximum award has been increased by $670, from $5,825 in FY 2016 to $6,495 in FY 2021. This represents a $2 billion increase in Pell Grant funding over five years.
The FY2022 appropriations bill, which is currently working its way through Congress, would increase the maximum grant by an additional $400, to $6,895.
In addition, after hearing from constituent students about their struggles staying enrolled in the summer, Sen. Blunt led the effort to reinstate “Year-Round Pell,” which had been eliminated in 2010.
Sen. Blunt’s stanch support for the private, nonprofit college sector has been demonstrated through the years in many ways, both large and small. He was instrumental in ensuring that private colleges and their students received COVID relief funding in the three bills that included Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds. Sen. Blunt’s support of equitable treatment by the federal government for all colleges, whether public or private, nonprofit is steadfast, and anchored in his personal experience.
After growing up on his family’s dairy farm, Sen. Blunt went on to be the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a degree from Southwest Baptist University (MO). He became a history teacher, a county government official, and Missouri’s Secretary of State, before returning to Southwest Baptist University as its president from 1993–1996.
Sen. Blunt was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 to represent the 7th District of Missouri, which includes the Ozark Mountains. He rose quickly through the Republican Party ranks to be elected Majority Whip in 2003, and remained in leadership roles throughout his tenure. When Sen. Blunt was elected to the Senate in 2010, he was chosen by his colleagues to join the Senate leadership during his first year in office. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and has been the lead Republican on the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration since 2015, whether in the majority or the minority.

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