The University of Oregon signed on to a letter, dated March 25, to all members of Congress asking them to double the amount of the maximum Pell Grant to approximately $13,000. The letter was signed by nearly 1,200 organizations, including the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Oregon State Students Association. Also signing on were 900 colleges and universities. The Pell Grant program is the nation’s foundational investment in higher education. Pell Grants help nearly seven million low- and moderate-income students (4,800 at the University of Oregon) attend and complete college annually. At its peak, the maximum grant covered three-quarters of the cost of attending a four-year public college. Now, due to a combination of state disinvestment and insufficient increases to the Pell program, the maximum grant of $6,495 now covers less than one-third of attending a four-year public college. Coalitions are asking that the Pell Grant award be doubled to the amount of $13,000.The letter explains that students from low- and moderate-income families are in critical need of additional grant aid to pay for college; this important investment will drive economic recovery, help address racial and economic inequities in college completion rates and increase overall educational attainment. It goes on to say that doubling the maximum Pell Grant – and permanently indexing the grant to inflation to ensure its value does not diminish over time – will boost college enrollment, improve graduation rates, and honor the history and value of these grants as the keystone federal investment in college affordability.
For more information, see APLU’s #DoublePell advocacy two-pager.