NASFAA Urges Lawmakers to Double Maximum Pell Grant to Effectively Restore Purchasing Power

The lowest-income students will benefit the most from doubling the maximum Pell Grant, but eligibility would also expand to moderate-income students, for whom affording college is also a struggle.

Contact: Erin Powers
Director of Marketing & Communications 
(202) 785-6959 
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC, June 17, 2021 — The federal Pell Grant program is the foundational federal student aid program, providing grants to undergraduate students with financial need to help pay the costs of attending a postsecondary institution. But Pell Grants have failed for decades to keep pace with increased college costs and inflation.

In a new issue brief, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) presents the facts and calls on Congress to recommit to the original intent of the Pell Grant program by doubling the maximum grant amount to $13,000 to restore its purchasing power for low- and moderate-income students struggling to meet college costs. 

The issue of college affordability in the context of student loan debt has received ever-increasing attention from the media and Congress, yet today's maximum Pell Grant award remains at a level similar to fiscal year 1978, when adjusting for inflation.

Doubling the Pell Grant would make up for necessary investments in federal student aid that have been pushed off for decades. And, it’s a fiscally responsible investment because doubling the Pell Grant is targeted to students with the greatest need, and represents a sustainable, front-end, and long-term solution to college access and affordability issues impacting lower-income students.

"This is more than just a college access and economic mobility issue, it’s a critical part of a social justice movement that seeks to create equal opportunity for all," said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. "We know that Pell is a critical component in supporting postsecondary access for students of color and first-generation college students. Doubling the Pell Grant would be a monumental step that would benefit students from historically underrepresented populations. In addition to these increases, we call on Congress to reinstate automatic inflationary increases and to fund the program like other federal entitlement programs, through mandatory funding."

NASFAA policy experts are available to speak more about the push to double the Pell Grant. To set up an interview, please email NASFAA Director of Marketing and Communications Erin Powers or call (202) 785-6959.

About the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators 

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) provides professional development for financial aid administrators; advocates for public policies that increase student access and success; serves as a forum on student financial aid issues; and is committed to diversity throughout all activities. NASFAA’s membership includes 22,000 student financial assistance professionals at approximately 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every 10 undergraduates in the U.S.

Publication Date: 6/17/2021

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