How to Secure and Strengthen Pell Grants to Increase College Access and Success

Updated September 23, 2019

One-pager with key recommendations on how to secure and strengthen Pell Grants, the federal government’s most vital investment in higher education.
Pell Grants Help Keep College Affordable for Millions of Americans

September 18, 2019

One-pager on the importance of Pell Grants, the impact of recent changes, and the need to strengthen them.
Pell Grants for Short-Term Programs - The Rationale and the Risks

November 1, 2017

This two-pager briefly describes short-term programs and what we know about their pay-off for students, and poses critical questions for advocates and policymakers considering the merits of loosening Pell Grants standards for these programs.
Redefining Full-time for Pell Grants Reduces College Access

December 12, 2017

Currently, students taking 12 credit hours a semester are considered "full-time" and are eligible for the maximum Pell Grant award. While some states have experimented with proposals to encourage students to take 15 credits, rather than 12, such a federal policy change to maximum Pell Grant eligibility could cut millions of students' grants by up to $1,500 a year, reducing college access and their likelihood of completion.
House FY18 Budget Penalizes Work for Low-Income College Students by Cutting the Income Protection Allowance (IPA)

August 23, 2017

The House FY18 budget resolution significantly cuts already low IPA levels, reversing the changes enacted on a bipartisan basis in 2007 to help needy working students. This rollback would cut Pell Grants for the millions of recipients who are already working and struggling to cover living expenses and rising college costs.
House FY18 Budget Increases Uncertainty and Complexity in the Financial Aid Process for Students Living in or Near Poverty

August 3, 2017

The House Budget Committee’s Fiscal Year 2018 resolution makes students with family incomes above $20,000 ineligible for an automatic-zero EFC, completely reversing bipartisan changes enacted in 2007. This proposal would add uncertainty and complexity to the financial aid process for needy students, ultimately harming college access for nearly one-in-five of the neediest Pell Grant recipients.
An Arbitrary Maximum Income Cap Would Eliminate Pell Grants for Needy Students

July 24, 2017

The House Budget Committee's Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposes a maximum income cap for Pell Grants, above which students would no longer be eligible for Pell Grants, regardless of their family size or situation. A maximum income cap would cut off Pell Grants from students who, due to family circumstances, require financial assistance to afford college.
No Causal Link Between Federal Student Aid and Higher Tuition

March 24, 2017

Leading higher education experts and economists have found no convincing, causal relationship between federal student aid (including Pell Grants) and college prices.
Independent Students Depend on Pell Grants for Access to College

November 16, 2012

Fact sheet on independent students, with a focus on those who receive Pell Grants.
Impact of the Immediate and Retroactive Lower Lifetime Limit for Pell Grants

June 19, 2012

In the 2012-13 year alone, the immediate and retroactive lower lifetime limit for Pell Grants will cause more than 100,000 students to lose their Pell Grant. This change, enacted by Congress last year, is expected to disproportionately harm African-American students and students enrolled at public and nonprofit four-year colleges, and will make it harder for students needing remediation to complete.
Expanding the Definition of Income Would Penalize Work, Reduce College Completion, and Increase Complexity

June 18, 2012

The House majority's FY12 Labor-HHS appropriations bill proposed expanding the definition of income for determining eligibility for Pell Grants and other student financial aid. This change would have cut Pell Grants for needy students by an estimated $13 billion over 10 years, harming college access, completion, and economic growth.
House FY12 Appropriations Bill Cuts Pell Grants by $44 Billion

October 11, 2011

One-pager on the impact of the House Appropriations Committee FY12 Labor‐HHS bill, which would have cut millions of needy students' Pell Grants, including entirely eliminating grants for more than 550,000 students next year and for more than 1 million students in 2017.
Pell Grant Provisions Prevent Student Abuse

July 18, 2011

Despite recent discussion of student abuse of federal Pell Grants, there is actually no evidence widespread abuse exists. Any concerns about fraud or abuse should be addressed directly and carefully to avoid harming the millions of needy students who play by the rules.