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 education.

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 2018 Appropriations Request that would provide adequate funds to ensure the scheduled increase for the Pell Grant maximum, reinstate year-round Pell, and increase or maintain funding for the other programs.


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 2018 Appropriations

  • The FY 2018 appropriation process got off to a delayed start, which is not unusual after the inauguration of a new president.  On March 16, 2017, President Trump submitted an outline of his FY 2018 budget and then submitted his full budget proposal, which was not favorable to the student aid programs, to Congress on May 23.  
  • The president proposes $150 billion in cuts to the student aid programs over 10 years.  The budget would eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant; cut Federal Work Study funding in half; eliminate subsidized loans for low-income students; cut TRIO and GEAR UP by $200 million; and cut $4 billion from the Pell Grant surplus.  The budget proposes to keep the Pell Grant maximum at $5,920 without an inflation-indexed increase.
  • Congressional appropriations committees rejected the President’s proposed cuts in the education spending bills written this summer.  The House’s bill from July maintains the Pell Grant maximum at $5,920, level funds SEOG and work study, and increases significantly TRIO (+$60 million) and GEAR UP (+$10 million). The Senate’s bill from early September increases the Pell Grant maximum by $100, to $6,020, level funds SEOG, work study and GEAR UP, and increases TRIO by $3 million.
  • Final appropriations for the student aid programs will be decided in a broad budget deal later this year.  In the meantime, the government keep running under a continuing resolution at FY 2017 levels until December 8.  This legislation also carried the first allotment of emergency disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey, the debt ceiling suspension, and the extension of National Flood Insurance, both until December 8. 

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