Here’s How Biden Could Double Pell Grant Financial Aid for College Students

"President Joe Biden, at last, has a plan to fulfill his campaign promise to double the maximum Pell Grant award. Advocates lauded the president's promise to double the award by 2029 in his latest budget proposal," according to Best Colleges

..."Advocates like Rachel Gentry, director of government relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), walk a fine line between expressing gratitude and wanting more robust action.

'I think a lot of advocates will both want to push to double it as soon as possible because we know the needs of students are so great,' Gentry told BestColleges, 'but, at the same time, I think [we] recognize this is a step in the right direction.'

There is also the problem of the timetable. A seven-year window to reach doubling would include another presidential election and two midterm elections.

'We don't know what the political dynamics are going to look like a year from now, let alone 2029,' she added."

..."The Pell Grant program is generally a bipartisan initiative, said Gentry of NASFAA. It's not a program fiscal conservatives have looked to cut recently, and Biden's 2022 omnibus budget bill, which included a $400 increase to the max Pell Grant, passed with bipartisan support.

'The fact that we're seeing a $400 increase included and [it is] something members of both sides of the aisle are supporting is encouraging,' she said.

So it is possible, if Biden wins reelection or another supporter of the program is his successor, that his goal to double the maximum award by 2029 is reached.

The problem, however, lies in how long the timeline is. The purchasing power of the Pell Grant has already declined significantly since its introduction nearly five decades ago, Gentry said.

The maximum Pell Grant covered nearly 80% of the cost of a four-year college degree in the early 1970s. Now, it covers less than 30% of that cost.

'I think in a world where we're thinking about what students need,' she said, 'we would love to see the maximum Pell Grant doubled all at once.'"

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 4/5/2022

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