Press Release/Statement | October 28, 2021

Statement on Build Back Better Framework

Author: Statement of Sameer Gadkaree

“We applaud policymakers for including new investments in college affordability and completion in the Build Back Better package. We believe the combination of proposed investments will drive an equitable recovery by helping millions of students cover college costs and complete a high-quality degree.

“A $550 increase to the maximum Pell Grant will make it easier for millions of students to cover all the costs associated with getting a degree—including non-tuition costs (such as housing, transportation, food, and books) that remain major roadblocks to completion. By excluding for-profit institutions from this increase, the framework seeks to maximize its investment to help students make Pell dollars go the furthest.

“The package further unlocks the door to opportunity by expanding Pell Grant eligibility to students with DACA and Temporary Protected Status, and by making all Pell dollars tax-free to eliminate an unnecessary bureaucratic and financial hurdle that keeps low- and middle-income students from accessing the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) dollars they qualify for.

“And new investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions—as well as community colleges—demonstrate a commitment to these critical sectors.

“Importantly, these affordability investments are paired with a first-of-its-kind $500 million program to implement and scale evidence-based retention and completion initiatives that can help more students earn a degree. By setting aside funding specifically for interventions with strong evidence of effectiveness, this new program has the potential to dramatically improve the trajectories of students across the country.

“More remains to be done to address the root causes of rising tuition, high student debt burdens, and persistent racial and economic equity gaps in college access and completion rates. We will continue to advocate for a debt-free path to a high-quality education through a robust federal-state partnership, doubling the Pell Grant, and increasing investments in rigorous, proven strategies that help students realize their postsecondary goals. The Build Back Better package, however, acknowledges the need for additional investments in our nation’s students, and we look forward to working with lawmakers to enact it into law.”


The Institute for College Access & Success is a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education. For more information see or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.