Published: October 2016

Stand up for low-income students by protecting Pell Grant funds

Consumer Action joined a group of 33 higher education groups and civil rights organizations in calling on Congress to restore year-round Pell Grants, increase the maximum Pell award amount and extend inflation adjustments. Millions of low-income students can receive up to $5,815 annually in Pell funding and advocates argue the money is vital in making higher education affordable and preventing students from being forced to take out pricey loans to pay for their degrees. In 2011 the Obama administration reached a bipartisan agreement to cut year-round Pell grants in response to funding shortfalls. However, advocates argue that the current Pell surplus provides a unique opportunity to reinvest in the program.

In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, consumer and student advocates urged members to protect the Pell Grant funds for use within the Pell Grant program only.  Pell Grants provide access to college for millions of low-income students who might not otherwise attend, serving nearly 8 million students- most from families making $40,000 or less. Nearly half of all Latino undergraduate students and more than 60 percent of African American students receive Pell grants. Yet, after years of declining purchasing power, the maximum grant now covers less than 30 percent of the cost of attending a four-year public college, the lowest share in more than 40 years. And Pell Grant students are now more than twice as likely to have loans as other students.

Lead Organization

The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS)

Other Organizations

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) | American Association of University Women (AAUW) | Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) | California State Student Association (CSSA) | Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) | Complete College America | Consumer Action | Consumers Union | Demos | Generation Progress | Higher Ed, Not Debt | Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) | Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) | Jobs for the Future | Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition | NAACP | National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) | National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) | National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) | National Council of La Raza (NCLR) | National Skills Coalition | One Wisconsin Now | Scholarship America | Student Debt Crisis | The Education Trust | The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) | The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) | Thurgood Marshall College Fund United Negro College Fund (UNCF) | Veterans Education Success (VES) | United States Student Association (USSA) | uAspire | U.S. PIRG | Young Invincibles

More Information

For more information, please visit TICAS.

Download PDF

Stand up for low-income students by protecting Pell Grant funds   (PellLetterOctober2016FINAL.pdf)




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