- Advocates for doubling the federal Pell Grant renewed their call to Congress in a released Wednesday.
- Nearly 1,200 organizations, including more than 800 colleges and universities, signed on, urging representatives to double the maximum value of the award and index it to inflation.
- . President Joe Biden has said he wants to double the Pell Grant, and the passage of the latest freed the administration and lawmakers to focus on other matters.
For years, higher education interest groups and institutional leaders have lobbied the federal government to increase the size of the Pell Grant, which severely lost purchasing power as.
It once offset about three-quarters of the cost of attending a public four-year college, while now it barelya third of those expenses.
However, the push to double the maximum Pell Grant has taken on new urgency as the pandemic spurs income and job losses among students and their families. Thehas also disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic students. The letter to Congress notes that almost 60% of Black and roughly half of Latinx students .
While Bidento double the Pell Grant, the issue wasn’t much of a focus while Congress debated more immediate concerns around coronavirus relief.
Michele Streeter, a senior policy analyst with The Institute for College Access & Success, one of the letter’s signatories, said the coalition is optimistic thatwill now be a high priority for the administration, given Biden’s promise of bipartisan support for the program.
Doubling the Pell Grant has likely not passed muster with Congress before, given the additional expense it would generate, Streeter said. The program currentlyper year.
“It is a high cost,” Streeter said. “But the return onreally high.”
Federal officials could. In addition to doubling the grants, lawmakers could , limiting how many higher-income students could get them.
It’s unclear what route thewould take. The U.S. did not answer emailed questions about its plan for the Pell Grant by publication time Thursday.
Lawmakers have beenthe Pell Grant. The latest iteration of the JOBS Act, which would extend eligibility for the grants to programs as short as eight weeks, with bipartisan support last week. Current restrictions limit that are at least 15 weeks.
Critics of the bill say it could enable Pell Grantswith little student payoff.