SCICU’s top priority in D.C. is to double the Pell Grant, a federal financial aid program for the most economically disadvantaged students. Both sides of the political aisle support the Pell Grants Program, and the maximum grant amount currently stands at $6,495.
Doubling the Pell Grant to $13,000 would further empower students to attend the college of their choice – to choose the college or university that provides the atmosphere in which they are most likely to succeed. At the same time it would prove a highly effective means of reducing student debt for those who can least afford the burden. Pell Grants are the fairest and most efficient way to get education funding to those who need it most.
Unfortunately, President Biden’s American Families Plan proposes increasing the Pell Grant by only $1,400 while allocating substantial funds to provide for free community college. This plan dramatically advances community colleges at the expense of four-year colleges and universities. By doubling Pell Grants, community college education would essentially be free for the neediest students who choose that higher education route. Doubling Pell would also expand the opportunity for all other financially-disadvantaged students to attend the four-year institutions that best meet their needs.
SCICU member institutions appreciate the support Congress has provided the Pell Grants Program in the past. Now we seek a strengthened partnership by doubling Pell Grants. The SCICU colleges and universities are far away the largest providers of student aid, as the following pie chart illustrates:
Expanding the Pell Grants slice (light green slice, located at the top of the pie chart) to 20% would no doubt substantially trim down the student loan slice (red slice, middle right side of pie chart).
We will continue to work with our friends in Washington to advocate on behalf of making a good thing – Pell Grants – even better. In fact, twice as good.