Student Aid Alliance Urges Congress to Continue Supporting Student Aid Programs, Double Pell Grants
April 25, 2022

Members of the Student Aid Alliance sent a letter last week to House and Senate education appropriators, asking them to continue their commitment of “strong bipartisan support for federal student aid” as the FY 2023 appropriations process begins. 

Alliance co-chairs ACE President Ted Mitchell and Barbara Mistick, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, expressed appreciation for the increases in support for students in the FY 2022 omnibus bill, a package signed into law on March 15 that included all 12 annual appropriations bills for the fiscal year that has been underway since Oct. 1, 2021. 

The FY 2022 bill provided $3 billion for higher education, which funds increases for most Title IV programs at the Department of Education. The maximum Pell Grant received a $400 boost under the bill, bringing it to $6,895. While this is the largest increase in years, it still falls far short of doubling the maximum grant, which President Biden campaigned on in 2020.

The higher education community remains committed to doubling the Pell Grant, which turns 50 this year and is overdue to be revamped for today’s students. In the letter on FY 2023 funding, Mitchell and Mistick again make the argument for doubling Pell, the single most important tool to enable low-income students to afford college.

“Doubling Pell would restore much of the purchasing power the grant had in FY 1975, when the maximum Pell award covered 78 percent of the cost of attendance at a four-year public college. It now covers just 28 percent,” they wrote. “…a generous Pell Grant, with additional grant aid matched by institutions in the form of Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), along with the student’s involvement through Federal Work Study (FWS) employment, could reset the path to recovery post-pandemic for the future of American students.”

They also strongly encouraged lawmakers to keep all Pell Grant reserve funding within the program and not rescind it to fund other programs in the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bill.

“Spending the reserve funds outside of Pell, rather than investing them back into the program, puts the future stability of Pell Grants in jeopardy,” they said. “The economic impact of the pandemic has yet to be fully realized as students and families make difficult decisions about whether or not to pursue higher education and ensuring that Pell Grants are stable will help ease a recovery.”

The letter also requested increases in campus-based aid, particularly SEOG and FWS. Over the last decade, both programs have seen level or reduced funding year after year, eroding their ability to serve low- and middle-income students. 

Read the full request here, and learn more about the effort to double Pell Grants at

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