Press Release/Statement | April 9, 2021

President’s Discretionary Budget Request a First Step Toward Improving College Affordability & Equity

Author: Statement of Jessica Thompson

“President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget request, released today, is an encouraging step toward making college more affordable and closing persistent racial and economic equity gaps in college enrollment and degree completion.

“The budget includes a welcome $400 boost to the maximum Pell Grant, but falls far short of doubling it – a critically needed investment recently urged by a diverse coalition of nearly 1,200 organizations and colleges. Encouragingly, the budget explicitly recognizes the importance of doubling Pell, calling the proposed $400 increase “a first step in a more comprehensive proposal to deliver on the President’s goal to double the grant.”

“We also applaud the budget’s proposed expansion of Pell Grant eligibility to DACA recipients, a long overdue change that would allow these students to more easily pursue and achieve their higher education goals.

“In addition, we are pleased to see a reference in the proposal to providing additional funding for under-resourced institutions to better support their students. Evidence-based comprehensive student success programs have doubled graduation rates among first-generation students, low-income students, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) students. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to scale these initiatives nationwide and reach the hundreds of thousands of students who stand to benefit.

“Overall, today’s proposal is an opening bid that recognizes the need for significant federal investment to make higher education more affordable and equitable.

“We look forward to working with policymakers as they release additional proposals to make the investments we know are needed to renew the promise of the nation’s higher education system: doubling the maximum Pell Grant; creating a new federal-state funding partnership to restore state investment; scaling evidence-based student support programs; and providing relief to borrowers struggling to repay their student debt.”


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