We heard from members of Congress and administration officials on the top higher education issues. The conference is also an opportunity to attend special sessions and share best practices in campus operations and advocacy.
I was fortunate to be joined by Allen University President Ernest McNealey during an afternoon on Capitol Hill. Along with meeting legislative staffers, the high point of the day was meeting Congressman James Clyburn, who represents South Carolina’s Sixth District and serves as House majority whip.
During our conversations we expressed our deepest thanks to Congress for COVID relief funding provided to institutions and students that has been essential to keeping colleges open and students enrolled during the pandemic.
We had a simple message – Double Pell! Everyone we met recognized the importance of Pell Grants for economically disadvantaged students who rely on them for making college financially accessible and their dreams of a college education reality. We support the $400 increase in the Pell Grant maximum proposed in FY22 appropriations, and the $550 increase proposed in reconciliation. Combined they would increase the maximum grant to $7,445 before financial aid offers are made this spring.
Doubling the Pell Grant to $13,000 is not only a fitting recognition of the program’s 50th anniversary, but is a bipartisan initiative supported by 75% of registered voters in a recent national poll.