Financial Aid

The Issue

Financial aid is a primary issue for ACE and the higher education association community, reflecting the vital role it plays for students, families, campuses and the nation as a whole. The range of federal aid programs, from Pell Grants to Federal Work-Study to Stafford Loans, encompasses a variety of processes and broader issues, including congressional appropriations, access, student debt load and streamlining the application process. ACE is at the forefront in working with Congress on policies that maximize federal support for all students, with a particular focus on low-income and historically underserved communities.

Our Work

Letters, Bill Summaries, and More

Facts in Hand: Who Is Borrowing for College?
Facts in Hand: Who Is Borrowing for College?
Data show that undergraduate student borrowing patterns are similar across sectors, an indicator that higher education is trying to minimize undergraduate debt. Graduate student borrowing data, however, offer a note of caution.
Letter to Appropriations Subcommittees on Education Funding Priorities for FY 2023
Letter to Appropriations Subcommittees on Education Funding Priorities for FY 2023
Letter from the Student Aid Alliance to House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations subcommittees requesting that student aid remains a high priority in the funding bill for FY 2023.
Paying for College
Paying for College
Understanding how students pay for college is useful for addressing barriers to financing higher education. Learn more about average tuition prices and federal aid for undergraduate students.
Letter to Congress on Doubling the Pell Grant
Letter to Congress on Doubling the Pell Grant
Along with 188 partner organizations, ACE sent this letter to congressional leaders yesterday asking them to consider doubling the maximum Pell Grant as they work toward a spending agreement for FY 2022.
2021 Fall Term Pulse Point Survey of College and University Presidents, Part III
2021 Fall Term Pulse Point Survey of College and University Presidents, Part III
In this survey, 91 presidents identified their most pressing current concerns and shared their views on changing student demographics, as well as the value of Pell Grants in providing low- and moderate-income students access to higher education.
Letter to the Department of Education on Student Loan Repayment Transition
Letter to the Department of Education on Student Loan Repayment Transition
ACE and the other higher education associations write to Secretary Cardona urging ED to share the full details of what is planning to do to help students and colleges during the transition to resuming student loan repayments.
Letter to Congress on Higher Education Priorities in the Build Back Better Plan
Letter to Congress on Higher Education Priorities in the Build Back Better Plan
ACE and a coalition of higher education organizations urge House and Senate leadership to preserve critical investments in college affordability and completion in the final Build Back Better package.
Letter to Congress in Support of the Higher Education Provisions in the Build Back Better Act
Letter to Congress in Support of the Higher Education Provisions in the Build Back Better Act
Letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging Congress to retain the level of higher education funding and key tax provisions provided in the Build Back Better Act passed by the House Budget Committee.
Letter to House Leadership on Repealing Pell Grant Taxability
Letter to House Leadership on Repealing Pell Grant Taxability
Letter from ACE and other assocations to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to repeal the taxability of Pell Grants in the FY 2022 budget reconciliation process.
Letter to the Senate Finance Committee on Repealing Pell Grant Taxability
Letter to the Senate Finance Committee on Repealing Pell Grant Taxability
ACE President Ted Mitchell writes to urge members of the Senate Finance Committee to repeal the taxability of Pell Grants in the FY 2022 budget reconciliation process.
Letter of Support for the FY 2022 Budget Reconciliation Bill
Letter of Support for the FY 2022 Budget Reconciliation Bill
Letter to the House Education and Labor Committee in support of the investments this legislation makes in students, educators, and institutions, and requesting lawmakers to include funding to double the maximum Pell Grant award.
Letter to Department of Education on Resuming Student Loan Repayments
Letter to Department of Education on Resuming Student Loan Repayments
As the nation works towards economic recovery, we believe it is critical that the Education Department develops and shares a clear plan to transition federal student loan borrowers back into repayment as soon as possible.
Education Department Negotiated Rulemaking: Letter on Financial Responsibility
Education Department Negotiated Rulemaking: Letter on Financial Responsibility
Letter from ACE, NAICU, NACUBO to the Education Department as it begins the process of negotiated rulemaking on Title IV programs addressing the need for change in the Financial Responsibility Standards.
Letter on Higher Education Appropriations for FY 2022
Letter on Higher Education Appropriations for FY 2022
Letter from ACE and 48 other higher education associations to House and Senate appropriators outlining the priorities for students, institutions, and researchers as Congress works on funding bills for FY 2022.
Request to Congress: Double the Pell Grant
Request to Congress: Double the Pell Grant
Letter to Congress from nearly 1,200 organizations, including nearly 900 colleges and universities, requesting lawmakers to double to amount of the maximum Pell Grant award.
Talking Points: Why Congress Should Double the Pell Grant
Talking Points: Why Congress Should Double the Pell Grant
This important investment will drive economic recovery, help address racial and economic inequities in college completion rates, and increase overall educational attainment.
Student Aid Alliance FY 2022 Higher Education Appropriations Priorities
Student Aid Alliance FY 2022 Higher Education Appropriations Priorities
Letter to the chairs of the House and Senate appropriations committees outlining the higher education funding priorities for FY 2022, including doubling the maximum Pell Grant.
Letter of Appreciation to Congressional Leaders for Passing the American Rescue Plan
Letter of Appreciation to Congressional Leaders for Passing the American Rescue Plan
Letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for including support for postsecondary students and institutions in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319).
American Rescue Plan Simulated HEERF Allocations: Proprietary Institutions
American Rescue Plan Simulated HEERF Allocations: Proprietary Institutions
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides almost $40 billion in relief funds directly to higher education institutions. This simulation shows how the Education Department might distribute these funds to proprietary schools.
American Rescue Plan Simulated HEERF Allocations: Nonprofit Institutions
American Rescue Plan Simulated HEERF Allocations: Nonprofit Institutions
​The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides almost $40 billion in relief funds directly to higher education institutions. This simulation shows how the Education Department might distribute these funds to public and private nonprofits.
Questions to ED on Emergency Relief Funding Distribution
Questions to ED on Emergency Relief Funding Distribution
Letter to incoming Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona outlining questions campuses have about the rules for spending the most recent round of COVID-19 relief funds approved by Congress in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriatio...

​Latest News

The Policy and Politics of Student Loan Forgiveness
The Policy and Politics of Student Loan Forgiveness
Almost everyone has an opinion about student loan forgiveness. But it's often more complicated than many think. Jon Fansmith and Terry Hartle look at what might happen in the coming months.
Who Is Borrowing for College?
Who Is Borrowing for College?
Undergraduate student borrowing patterns are similar across sectors, an indicator that higher education is trying to minimize undergraduate debt. Graduate student borrowing data, however, offer a note of caution.
Public Policy Pop-Up: The Policy and Politics of Student Loan Forgiveness
Public Policy Pop-Up: The Policy and Politics of Student Loan Forgiveness
Join ACE’s Terry W. Hartle and Jon Fansmith on May 16 to discuss the policy and politics of President Biden’s new student loan forgiveness initiatives as we move deeper into the campaign season. (Recording available.)
Student Aid Alliance Urges Congress to Continue Supporting Student Aid Programs, Double Pell Grants
Student Aid Alliance Urges Congress to Continue Supporting Student Aid Programs, Double Pell Grants
Members of the Student Aid Alliance sent a letter April 19 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.
The Higher Ed Agenda as Congress Returns From Spring Break
The Higher Ed Agenda as Congress Returns From Spring Break
Congress comes back to DC next week to a full agenda and an attention span increasingly absorbed by the midterm elections. What’s in store for higher education?
dotEDU Brief: Student Loan Repayment on Pause (Again); Is Double Pell in the Cards?
dotEDU Brief: Student Loan Repayment on Pause (Again); Is Double Pell in the Cards?
Guest host Stephanie Giesecke from NAICU joins the podcast to talk about the Biden budget for the upcoming fiscal year and the prospects for increasing funding for Pell Grants.
President’s Budget for FY 2023 Seeks to Double Pell Grants, but in a Multi-Year Process
President’s Budget for FY 2023 Seeks to Double Pell Grants, but in a Multi-Year Process
The Biden administration has released its budget blueprint for FY 2023, proposing a substantial increase for Pell Grants and more funding for historically under-resourced higher education institutions.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on President Biden’s Proposed FY 2023 Budget
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on President Biden’s Proposed FY 2023 Budget
We commend President Biden for his FY 2023 budget proposals to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $2,175 and expand existing institutional aid grants to HBCUs, TCUs, HSIs, and other minority-serving institutions.
Biden Signs Major Spending Bill That Includes $400 Increase for Pell Grants
Biden Signs Major Spending Bill That Includes $400 Increase for Pell Grants
President Biden has signed a $1.5 trillion spending bill that funds the government through the end of September, a package that includes all 12 annual appropriations bills for FY 2022 along with $13.6 billion in support for Ukraine.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on State of the Union Higher Education Proposals
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on State of the Union Higher Education Proposals
President Biden will propose an increase of at least $2,000 to the maximum Pell Grant and an expansion of institutional aid grants to HBCUs, TCUs, HSIs and other minority-serving institutions during tonight’s State of the Union address.
2021 Fall Term Pulse Point Survey of College and University Presidents, Part III
2021 Fall Term Pulse Point Survey of College and University Presidents, Part III
In this survey, 91 presidents identified their most pressing current concerns and shared their views on changing student demographics, as well as the value of Pell Grants in providing low- and moderate-income students access to higher education.
Use of HEERF at U.S. Colleges and Universities, Part II
Use of HEERF at U.S. Colleges and Universities, Part II
ACE surveyed college and university presidents about Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) used by their institutions. Responses indicate that the federal relief funds were especially critical for lower-resourced institutions and their students.
2021 in Higher Education Policy (A Good Year, Not a Great One)
2021 in Higher Education Policy (A Good Year, Not a Great One)
ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle reviews the higher education policy successes and failures of 2021, and what we can expect from Congress and the administration in 2022.
The Future of Student Loan Forgiveness
The Future of Student Loan Forgiveness
Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, comes on the podcast to talk about student loan forgiveness and other topics important to borrowers.
End of Year Countdown: What’s on the Congressional Agenda for Students and Colleges
End of Year Countdown: What’s on the Congressional Agenda for Students and Colleges
In this live conversation, hosts Jon Fansmith and Sarah Spreitzer discuss the status of the Build Back Better Act and more as Congress pushes toward the end of the year with a lengthy to-do list. ​
House Moves Forward on Build Back Better Act, Passes Infrastructure Bill
House Moves Forward on Build Back Better Act, Passes Infrastructure Bill
The House voted to approve a key procedural measure to prepare for what congressional Democrats hope will be the eventual passage of the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, which includes a number of programs and funding for higher ed institutions.
Higher Ed Waits for Congress to Act; ACE Takes Pulse of College Presidents
Higher Ed Waits for Congress to Act; ACE Takes Pulse of College Presidents
With the House heading toward a vote on the Biden administration’s domestic spending plan, the hosts talk about what is in the bill for higher education and speak with Morgan Taylor about ACE’s latest Pulse Point survey of college presidents.
Reconciliation Framework Increases Maximum Pell Grant, Cuts Free Community College
Reconciliation Framework Increases Maximum Pell Grant, Cuts Free Community College
The long-awaited framework for the Democrats’ reconciliation bill has been released, a roughly $1.75 trillion package of spending priorities to support the Biden administration’s domestic agenda.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Reconciliation Legislation Agreement
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Reconciliation Legislation Agreement
We are appreciative of the higher education support that is included in this legislation and will work closely with the administration and Congress to build on this beginning.
Capitol Hill Fall Showdown: Will Higher Ed Get Left Behind?
Capitol Hill Fall Showdown: Will Higher Ed Get Left Behind?
he hosts look at what we know so far about the higher ed provisions in the budget reconciliation bill, the future of Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and the president's order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for federal contractors.
Department of Education Overhauls Troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
Department of Education Overhauls Troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
The Biden administration announced plans to reform the troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and start fulfilling its promise to help student loan borrowers who have committed to at least a decade in a public service career.