Monday, November 12, 2001
CONTACT: Tracey King
(202) 546-9707 x339
Mobilize To Protect Pell Grant Increase
that the recently announced budget shortfall will translate
into cuts in the program and threaten the $4,000 maximum grant
appropriated in spending bills, students and student advocates
are mobilizing in support of increased spending in the Pell
grant program. Students on campuses across the country are
writing letters, sending emails, and calling their Representatives
and Senators, urging them to fully fund a $250 increase in
the maximum Pell grant.
should fully fund the $250 increase in the maximum grant.
When the economy is on a downturn, a college education becomes
even more important, but it becomes less affordable. Now more
than ever, we should ensure access to an affordable college
education," said Ellynne Bannon, The State PIRGs' Higher
The Pell grant is the foundation of financial aid for low-income
students, helping nearly 4 million students pay for college.
However, over the past thirty years, the Pell grant has failed
to keep up with rising tuition and cost of living. The maximum
Pell Grant award has declined from covering nearly 80% of
average public university tuition in 1979, to approximately
40% today. Increasing the maximum grant by $250 would be a
step toward restoring the Pell grant to its original strength.
the Office of Management and Budget announced that the $1.7
billion appropriated in the House and Senate Labor, Health
and Human Services, and Education spending bills would only
maintain the Pell grant maximum at last year's level. In fact,
the $250 increase requested by appropriators would require
an additional $800 million to $1 billion. The shortfall is
caused by this year's unprecedented 9.66% increase in the
number of Pell grant recipients.
students who are newly eligible for Pell grants are the students
that the program was meant to serve: low-income students who
need the most help paying for a college education. Now that
times are hard, these students need even more help, and the
worst thing we could do is take back our promise of an affordable
college education," said Ellynne Bannon.
more than ever, students need the help of the Pell grant to
afford a college education," concluded Bannon.
State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy