By Erin Powers, NASFAA Communications Staff
The federal Pell Grant program has failed for decades to keep pace with increased college costs and inflation. Doubling Pell would make up for necessary investments in federal student aid that have been pushed off for decades and serve as a sustainable, front-end, and long-term solution to college access and affordability issues impacting lower-income students.
In June, NASFAA published an issue brief in which we called on Congress to recommit to the original intent of the Pell Grant program by doubling the maximum grant amount to $13,000 and in July, NASFAA — working as part of a coalition of more than 100 higher education associations, organizations, and advocacy groups — helped launch #DoublePell, a national advocacy campaign.
On August 24, the House approved a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, kicking off the budget reconciliation process that is expected to be used to pass legislation containing a number of policies previously introduced in President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan and his American Families Plan. The resolution provides spending instructions for congressional committees, which are now working to develop legislative text and are expected to begin marking up their sections of the reconciliation package as soon as next week. Among the policies that could be passed through the budget reconciliation process are several components of Biden’s plans, including his proposal to double the maximum Pell Grant to $13,000, which was first introduced on the 2020 campaign trail.
The #DoublePell campaign has seen great levels of involvement thus far — with nearly 4,400 emails sent via the Double Pell website’s Contact Congress feature — but this timely opportunity to achieve substantial and historic Pell Grant increases presents a renewed urgency to this important advocacy effort. Now is the time to ramp up our call for action to #DoublePell and make sure lawmakers hear from their constituents and the higher education community about the importance of the Pell Grant program in promoting student access and success.
We need your help to amplify this message. The American Council on Education, one of our coalition partners, yesterday contacted its members — college presidents at schools all over the country — to encourage them to contact their respective congressional delegations as soon as possible, but not later than the middle of next week.
Financial aid offices also have a crucial role to play here. We encourage you to:
Contact your members of Congress to express your support for doubling Pell. You can quickly and easily send a letter to your House and Senate members through the #DoublePell website’s Take Action page.
Read through these quick facts to bone up on your talking points on why we should #DoublePell.
Utilize the fact sheets and other resources on the website for your own advocacy with members of your congressional delegation.
Use your institutional social media accounts to promote the campaign and detail why Congress should #DoublePell. You can find shareable social media graphics for the campaign at the bottom of the Take Action page.
Spread the word about this campaign to your broader campus community — in faculty newsletters, campus-wide emails, etc. — to increase awareness.
Encourage your students to visit the #DoublePell website’s Take Action page to send a letter to their House and Senate members in support of doubling Pell and to speak out on social media using #DoublePell.
Encourage Pell recipients to share their stories, using the "Tell Us Your Story" button on the Pell Voices page, so they can be added to other student vignettes already posted.
Publication Date: 9/3/2021
David S | 9/3/2021 2:39:15 PM
I encourage my colleagues in the graduate/professional space to take up this cause also. No, our students can't get Pell Grants (although I love the proposal floating around to allow Pell recipients to receive unused LEU's in grad school). But if you want socioeconomic diversity at your grad school, those students need to get their undergraduate degrees first. Doubling Pell helps students beyond their undergrad careers.
Jeff A | 9/3/2021 9:51:50 AM
Doubling Pell would strand over 100,000 students when their college would be forced to close due to a contradictory and obsolete "9010" rule. If we are going to advocate for increased Pell investment, we must advocate to eliminate this hypocritical rule that states students must pay a portion of their tuition from non gov't sources.
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