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

Ivan Frishberg

Ellynne Bannon


To: Student Activists
From: Ellynne Bannon, State PIRGs Higher Education Advocate
Date: April 4, 2002

*** Call your Senators and Representatives today and urge them to support a $4,500 Pell Grant maximum award and a $100 million in funding for the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP) ***

In the next few weeks Appropriators in both the Senate and House will begin to make decisions about 2003 funding levels for several key grant-aid programs. It is imperative that they hear from students about how important it is to increase both the maximum Pell Grant awards to $4,500 and funding for the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP) to $100 million.

Pell Grants are the foundation of the federal financial aid system. However, over the past 25 years their buying power has seriously eroded. In 1976 the maximum Pell Grant award covered 84% of tuition costs at a 4-year public institution, today it only covers 39%. More than 4 million students depend on the Pell Grant to finance college.

The LEAP program encourages states to continue to expand their own grant programs. States use LEAP funds to support increased grant aid, early intervention, community service, and scholarship programs in specialized academic areas. Currently the LEAP program serves 667,000 students throughout the country-60% of whom are from families with incomes under $20,000.

As college costs swell, federal financial aid dwindles and state budget shrink, it is more important than ever to increase federal grant-aid programs to ensure access to higher education for all Americans. Urge your members to support increased funding for both the Pell Grant maximum award and the LEAP program.

Action: Call your Members of Congress today and ask them to support an increase in the maximum Pell Grant award of $500 to $4,500, AND an increase to $100 million in funding for the LEAP program in this year's Education budget.

Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
House Switchboard: (202) 225-3121

Or you can call your Senators and Members of Congress by using the student aid hotline: 1 (800) 574-4AID.
For more information on LEAP and other student aid programs visit: or