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

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...
Letter to the House Committee on Education and Labor on Emergency Relief in Budget Reconciliation
Letter to the House Committee on Education and Labor on Emergency Relief in Budget Reconciliation
ACE and other higher education associations write to support emergency relief for higher education students and institutions as committee members create the FY21 budget resolution’s reconciliation instructions.
Letter to Education Secretary-designate About Higher Education Priorities
Letter to Education Secretary-designate About Higher Education Priorities
Letter to Education Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona about the higher education community's priorities for the Biden administration, including additional emergency COVID-19 relief.
 Letter to Congress About the Continuing Needs of Students and Institutions During the Pandemic
Letter to Congress About the Continuing Needs of Students and Institutions During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 relief bill Congress approved in December provided just under $23 billion for postsecondary students and institutions. While this will deliver some help, at least $97 billion in critical needs remains unaddressed.
CRRSAA Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Simulation
CRRSAA Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Simulation
Simulated distribution of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provided by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the pandemic relief bill signed into law in December 2020.
Methodology for the CRRSAA Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Simulation
Methodology for the CRRSAA Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Simulation
How we modeled the simulated distribution of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provided by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.
Summary of the Higher Education Provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
Summary of the Higher Education Provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
High-level summary of the higher education provisions in the latest COVID-19 emergency relief bill, including the a breakdown of the $22.7 billion in emergency assistance for higher education institutions and students.
Letter to Congress on Borrower Relief Extensions
Letter to Congress on Borrower Relief Extensions
Letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to extend the current suspension of payment and zero percent interest for all federal student loan borrowers, as well as the suspension of collections on defaulted loans, as the pandemic continues.
Request to Extend Relief for Federal Student Loan Borrowers
Request to Extend Relief for Federal Student Loan Borrowers
Letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking for an extension of the current suspension of payment and zero percent interest for federal student loan borrowers and the suspension of collections on defaulted loans during the pandemic.
Request to Extend Student Loan Relief During the Pandemic
Request to Extend Student Loan Relief During the Pandemic
Letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from NASFAA, TICAS, and ACE urging the administration to extend and expand repayment relief to federal student loan borrowers.
Higher Education Priorities in the Next COVID-19 Supplemental Spending Bill
Higher Education Priorities in the Next COVID-19 Supplemental Spending Bill
Congress should provide a minimum of $120 billion for colleges and universities in the next supplemental spending bill to cover the costs of reopening, lost revenue, and emergency financial aid for students.
Request to Congress for Emergency Funding for Higher Education
Request to Congress for Emergency Funding for Higher Education
Letter to congressional leaders requesting at least $120 billion in new federal support for students and colleges and universities in the next COVID-19 supplemental spending bill.
Letter to Congress on Higher Education Needs in the Fifth COVID-19 Emergency Spending Bill
Letter to Congress on Higher Education Needs in the Fifth COVID-19 Emergency Spending Bill
Letter to House and Senate leaders expressing the views of colleges and universities on what student and institutional aid provisions should be included in the fifth COVID-19 spending bill.
Request for Senate to Extend Relief for Student Borrowers
Request for Senate to Extend Relief for Student Borrowers
Letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority leader Chuck Schumer requesting an extension of the student loan borrower relief provided in the CARES Act.
Letter to Senate on Effective Implementation of COVID-19 Emergency Supplemental Funds
Letter to Senate on Effective Implementation of COVID-19 Emergency Supplemental Funds
Letter to Senate leadership encouraging Congress to give careful consideration to ensure that any new initiatives in the next COVID-19 supplemental appropriations act are implemented effectively by the Department of Education.

​Latest News

Colleges and Universities, Higher Ed Groups Call on Congress to Double the Maximum Pell Grant
Colleges and Universities, Higher Ed Groups Call on Congress to Double the Maximum Pell Grant
ACE has joined a broad coalition of nearly 1,200 organizations, including almost 900 colleges and universities, in urging Congress to double the maximum Pell Grant.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell: ACE Joins In Call to Congress to Double the Pell Grant
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell: ACE Joins In Call to Congress to Double the Pell Grant
Doubling the maximum Pell Grant is something Congress can agree to on a bipartisan basis as a fast and effective way to bolster opportunity for millions of students.
Episode 38: What's Next for Federal Student Aid?
Episode 38: What's Next for Federal Student Aid?
Julie Peller, executive director of Higher Learning Advocates, visits the podcast to talk about the financial aid policies and programs that might be proposed by Congress in the coming months.
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Simulated Distribution of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Simulated Distribution of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides almost $40 billion in relief funding for higher education institutions. ACE has prepared a simulation of how the Education Department could distribute this money.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Final Congressional Passage of COVID-19 Relief Legislation
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Final Congressional Passage of COVID-19 Relief Legislation
The COVID-19 relief measure approved by Congress today and headed for President Biden’s signature is a win for students and higher education institutions hit hard by the pandemic.
Nearly $40 Billion in Relief for Higher Education in Sight as Congress Nears Completion on COVID-19 Bill
Nearly $40 Billion in Relief for Higher Education in Sight as Congress Nears Completion on COVID-19 Bill
​Nearly $40 billion in new relief funds for students and colleges and universities is a step closer to becoming reality, after the Senate voted 50-49 on Saturday to approve President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus package.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on House Passage of COVID-19 Relief Legislation
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on House Passage of COVID-19 Relief Legislation
We urge the Senate to approve this legislation, but continue to stress that additional higher education relief funding should be included to meet the full needs of colleges and universities facing precipitous declines in revenues and soaring new expenses.
Episode 37: A Conversation With Congressman Bobby Scott
Episode 37: A Conversation With Congressman Bobby Scott
Hosts Jon Fansmith, Sarah Spreitzer, and Mushtaq Gunja talk with House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) about the recent past, present, and future of higher education legislation under his committee’s purview.
Episode 36: What Colleges Can Expect From Miguel Cardona's Education Department
Episode 36: What Colleges Can Expect From Miguel Cardona's Education Department
ACE President Ted Mitchell joins Jon, Sarah, and Mushtaq to talk about his impressions of incoming Secretary of Education Miguel A. Cardona and about his own experience working in the Education Department.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on the Senate Confirmation Hearing of Secretary of Education-designate Miguel A. Cardona
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on the Senate Confirmation Hearing of Secretary of Education-designate Miguel A. Cardona
ACE looks forward to working with Dr. Cardona and his team at the Department of Education on the many important issues facing students, families, and colleges and universities.
Episode 35: A New Era for Higher Ed Under the Biden Administration
Episode 35: A New Era for Higher Ed Under the Biden Administration
The hosts take the full episode to discuss how President Biden’s actions in his first week in office will impact higher ed as well as how a slim majority for Democrats in the House and the Senate could impact legislation moving forward.
ED Announces Plans for Distributing Emergency Relief; Biden COVID-19 Relief Plan Would Give $35 Billion to Higher Education
ED Announces Plans for Distributing Emergency Relief; Biden COVID-19 Relief Plan Would Give $35 Billion to Higher Education
The Department of Education has announced its plan for distributing the largest pool of funding for students and higher education institutions in the COVID-19 relief bill passed in December.
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on FAFSA Simplification
Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on FAFSA Simplification
We applaud the bipartisan agreement to simplify the process of applying for federal student aid, which will make it significantly easier for students and families to complete the FAFSA form and increase the number of individuals who receive aid.
ED Extends Student Loan Borrower Relief To Jan. 31; Associations Call on Congress to Address Issue Through End of 2021
ED Extends Student Loan Borrower Relief To Jan. 31; Associations Call on Congress to Address Issue Through End of 2021
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Friday that the pause on repaying student loans would be extended through Jan. 31, leaving the Biden administration to deal with further relief.
Biden Administration Will Take Decisively Different Approach to Higher Education
Biden Administration Will Take Decisively Different Approach to Higher Education
On the agenda: Doubling Pell Grants, student loan forgiveness, reinstating DACA, and more.
ACE, Higher Education Groups Outline Costs of Reopening Campuses This Fall in Letter to Senate
ACE, Higher Education Groups Outline Costs of Reopening Campuses This Fall in Letter to Senate
ACE and 38 other higher education groups sent a letter July 2 to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to detail the costs involved in reopening college campuses in the midst of the pandemic.
Education Department’s Interim Final Rule on CARES Act Excludes Nearly 8 Million Students
Education Department’s Interim Final Rule on CARES Act Excludes Nearly 8 Million Students
The Department of Education has released an interim final rule explicitly stating that only students who are eligible for Title IV federal financial aid can receive emergency grants provided in the CARES Act, the COVID-19 stimulus bill sign
Basic Needs for All Students
Basic Needs for All Students
Sara Goldrick-Rab discusses why emergency aid is especially critical now, ways to assess basic needs and disburse funds, and how an equity lens has a clear ROI for higher ed. Supported by Imaginable Futures. Presented on ACE Engage—Create your account.
Episode 22: Thinking Through an Uncertain Fall
Episode 22: Thinking Through an Uncertain Fall
ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle joins co-hosts Jon Fansmith and Sarah Spreitzer to discuss what higher education institutions need to support reopening this fall and how Congress can help.
House Approves 5th Emergency COVID-19 Spending Bill With $100 Billion for Education
House Approves 5th Emergency COVID-19 Spending Bill With $100 Billion for Education
House lawmakers approved a new emergency supplemental spending measure to address the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emergency Student Aid Grants Will Not Be Taxed; House Bill Would Give Additional Relief to Students and Families
Emergency Student Aid Grants Will Not Be Taxed; House Bill Would Give Additional Relief to Students and Families
The IRS announced last week that CARES Act emergency student financial aid grants will not be taxable.