Student Aid Funding

NAICU supports increased federal funding for the proven student aid programs, which work together to ensure that qualified low- and middle-income students who are prepared for college have the same opportunity to get into, persist, and complete college as students with greater resources.

NAICU advocates for the funding of the Pell Grant program, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Work Study (FWS), Perkins Loans, LEAP state partnership grants, TRIO, GEAR UP, and Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN).

NAICU and the American Council on Education (ACE) co-chair the Student Aid Alliance, which brings together more than 80 organizations representing students, financial aid officers, colleges, and others who support student aid. Together, the Alliance proposed a FY 2019 Appropriations Request that would provide inflation increases for the Pell Grant maximum, SEOG and FWS; significant increases for TRIO and GEAR UP; reinstate LEAP state grants; and continued support for graduate education in the humanities.


The federal student aid programs have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades. Currently, the federal government provides $140 billion in student loans, grants, and work study each year to help more than 13 million students pay for college.

NAICU has supported federal funding for student aid since its inception in 1976; and the Student Aid Alliance has been successful in turning massive proposed cuts to student aid into program increases since 1994.   

Status of FY 2019 Student Aid Funding

  • Congress rejected President Trump's FY 2019 budget request, writing education spending bills that increase student aid funding in June. The education bill was combined with the Defense bill, and President Trump signed them into law before the beginning of the Fiscal Year on October 1. Student aid funding fared well with the following funding levels:
    • Pell Grant maximum increased $100 to $6,195
    • Level funding for SEOG at $840 million
    • Level funding for Federal Work Study at $1.13 billion
    • TRIO increased $50 million, to $1.06 billion
    • GEAR UP increased $10 million, to $360 million

What You Can Do

College presidents are one of the most respected voices heard by Members of Congress.
  • Use your NAICU Student Aid Data Sheet to show how federal funding helps students at your school.
  • Bring a student or student story with you when you meet with your congressional representatives.
  • Activate the #SaveStudentAid campaign on your campus to get more voices supporting student aid funding. Twitter and Facebook can be used to share the message.

NAICU Contacts