State PIRGs' Higher Education Project
218 D Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 546-9707

Ivan Frishberg

Ellynne Bannon


May 14, 2002

The Honorable C.W. Young, Chairman
House Appropriations Committee
2407 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable David Obey,
Ranking Member
House Appropriations Committee
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman and Representative Obey,

The United States Student Association and the State PIRGs' Higher Education Project thank you for your leadership and commitment to advancing a Supplemental Appropriations bill that includes $1 billion in funding to help cover the FY2002 Pell Grant shortfall. We believe that this is an important step in making college a reality for the millions of Americans.

As college costs rise, state budgets shrink and federal grant aid fails to keep pace, many students and families struggle to finance a higher education. Increasingly students are turning to loans as a primary means to finance their college education. According to new data from the Department of Education the typical Pell Grant borrower graduates with nearly $19,000 in federal student loan debt. In addition, nearly half of all full-time students are working a number of hours that hurt their grades and overall academic achievement in order to cover college costs.

Pell Grants are the cornerstone of federal financial grant aid system. Today more than four million students depend on the Pell Grant program to attend college.

We support your efforts to cover the $1.3 billion Pell Grant shortfall and again we thank you for your commitment to the students who depend on Pell Grants to continue their education. Your leadership on student aid issues will make a college education more affordable for millions of Americans.


Corey Barbour
U.S. Student Association Legislative Director

Ellynne Bannon
State PIRGs Higher Education Advocate