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 2020 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.  On April 30, the House Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education approved a FY 2020 spending bill that adopted all of the Alliance's proposed increases. 


The federal student aid programs have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades. Currently, the federal government provides $130 billion in student loans, grants, and work study each year to help more than 11 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 2020 Student Aid Funding

The FY 2020 budget request President Trump submitted to Congress on March 11, 2019 proposes cuts to the student aid programs similar to his previous proposals. His budget would cut student loan funds by $207 billion over 10 years and $1.8 billion the remaining student aid programs that are funded annually.

On April 30, the House Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education wrote its FY 2020 spending bill, rejecting the president’s proposed cuts, and instead providing historic increases for the student aid programs. 
  • Specifically, the bill increases:
    • The Pell Grant maximum by $150, to $6,346.
    • SEOG by $188 million, to $1 billion.
    • FWS by $304 million, to $1.4 billion.
    • TRIO by $100 million, to $1.1 billion.
    • GEAR UP by $35 million, to $395 million.
In June, the House passed the education funding bill, combined with bills for Defense, State-Foreign Operations, and Energy, providing over $1 trillion for most of the government. In July, Congress set a new bipartisan budget deal to repeal sequestration and raise the statutory spending caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021. The new spending caps are higher than FY 2019, but lower than what the House passed, which will make it more difficult for the Senate to write bipartisan bills. As the end of the fiscal year (September 30) approaches, the Senate still needs to write and pass its 12 spending bills, and Congress will most likely have to pass legislation keeping the government open to avoid a shutdown. 

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