UC urges Congress to double Pell Grant by 2024

UC Berkeley Campus
Ireland Wagner/File
The University of California launched its Double the Pell campaign, which urges Congress and the Biden administration to double the Pell Grant by 2024.

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The University of California launched its Double the Pell campaign in partnership with the University of California Student Association, or UCSA, and the UC Advocacy Network on Feb. 8.

The campaign urges Congress and the Biden administration to “charter a more affordable pathway to higher education” for American students, according to a UC Office of the President, or UCOP, press release. The Pell Grant, which is offered to more than 7 million low-income students by the federal government each year, currently covers about 28% of a four-year student’s public college costs. According to the press release, more than 35% of undergraduates receive Pell Grants.

“Ensuring a more affordable, accessible higher education across the country is one of the greatest investments America can make — not only in those students, but also in their future contributions to the economy and to society,” said UC Board of Regents Chair John Pérez in a press release. “Their advancement and success will yield limitless dividends over years and decades.”

For the 2021-22 academic year, Congress raised the maximum Pell Grant to $6,495 at the urging of higher education institutions including the university. Through the Double the Pell campaign, the UC system is pushing for an annual maximum grant increase of $2,168. This would double the Pell grant amount to around $13,000 by 2024, according to the press release.

For the next step in their Double the Pell advocacy, the UCOP Federal Government Relations division and UCSA will organize a “virtual congressional advocacy day” later this month, where students currently receiving federal Pell Grants can share the impact doubling the Pell Grant would have for them.

“Addressing the challenges of access and affordability is a priority of UCSA,” said UCSA President Aidan Arasasingham in a press release. “For too long in America, we have seen low-income, first-generation, and undocumented students as well as individuals of color inequitably shoulder the financial burden from a college degree. Doubling the Pell takes us one step further on the path to a debt-free graduation.”

Contact Anishi Patel at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anishipatel.