NAICU Washington Update

National Effort Begins to Double the Max Pell Grant Award

March 05, 2021

Looking to make college more accessible to a greater number of students, NAICU is helping spearhead a national effort to promote doubling the maximum Pell Grant award from $6,495 to $13,000.  The campaign will seek to have the Pell Grant maximum doubled by the 50th anniversary of the program in June of 2022.

NAICU is playing a lead role in organizing a national coalition of higher education associations, institutions, and advocates in support of doubling Pell and will be asking members to help these efforts at the local and national level in the months ahead.  The effort will entail advocating with elected officials, engaging campus and community leaders, writing op-eds and letters to the editor, and promoting the effort on social media, among other outreach strategies.   

As an initial step, NAICU is asking its member presidents and associations to sign a national letter to Congress supporting doubling the Pell Grant. The deadline to sign the letter is 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 12. A strong showing of support on the letter from private, nonprofit colleges and universities is a great way to start the advocacy efforts that will be needed on Capitol Hill to make doubling Pell a reality.

Increasing the maximum Pell Grant award to $13,000 is one of NAICU’s top priorities for funding student aid and would help bring the purchasing power of the grant closer to its original value in FY 1975, when it covered almost 80% of tuition room and board at a 4-year public college. 

Realizing this policy objective in time for the 50th anniversary next year leaves 15 months for the higher education community to collectively work to create awareness about why doubling the Pell Grant is the single most important thing Congress can do to help college access and completion.  

With nearly 40% of students enrolled in private, nonprofit colleges and universities receiving Pell Grants, the sector will have a significant voice in making the case for this critically needed increase.  

More information on the Double Pell campaign will be released this spring.