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: December 10, 2001

*** Call Today: Urge Congress not to cut the Pell Maximum Grant***

Congress is set to make a final decision on funding levels for the Pell Grant in FY02 this week. Both the House and Senate appropriations bills recommended a $4,000 Pell Grant maximum award, yet there is pressure to cut the award because of the shortfall. Call your representatives today and urge them not to cut the $4,000 Pell Grant maximum.

Last month the Bush administration sent a letter to Senate leadership informing them that thousands more Pell-eligible students than expected are attending college this year. While this is good news-- because it means that an increasing number of poor students see a college education as possible, it means that the Pell Grant program is facing a $1.7 billion shortfall.

To solve this problem, the administration has proposed reducing next year's planned increase in the Pell Grant maximum from $4,000 to its current level of $3,750. As members are about to make final spending decisions the administration continues to advocate for a cut in the maximum award. Cutting the maximum Pell Grant award is the wrong approach. While Congress has worked to restore the value of the Pell grant, the current economic climate may put us even further behind. Decreasing the maximum award threatens to halt the significant progress we have made in recent years to restore the buying power of the Pell Grant program. The shortfall must be addressed to ensure that students receive the $4,000 maximum award that they have been promised. Urge your Senators and Representatives to fully fund the $4,000 maximum award.

Call your Representatives and Senators and tell him/her not to cut the maximum Pell Grant award.

Call your Senators and Members of Congress by using the student aid hotline: 1 (800) 574-4AID.