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), 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. For FY 2022, the Alliance requests that Congress double the maximum Pell Grant award and provide significant increases to all programs.  


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 2021 Student Aid Funding

Funding for FY 2021 was enacted on December 27, 2020. Because of the national pandemic emergency, Congress recognized the additional financial need facing students, and provided increased funding for all the student aid programs. Starting in July 2021, funding for the student aid programs will be as follows:
  • Pell Grant Maximum: $6,495, a $150 increase
  • SEOG: $880 million, a $15 million increase
  • Federal Work-Study: $1.190 billion, a $10 million increase
  • TRIO: $1.097 billion, a $7 million increase
  • GEAR UP: $368 million, a $3 million increase
  • GAANN: $23.5 million, a $500,000 increase

In the News

Washington Updates

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