• Media Coverage
  • October16th

    March 1 has come and gone and Congress did nothing to stop the looming budget cuts. As a result, If  students who get federal aid could lose hundreds of dollars a year. We calculate the cost could be as much as $876 a year in new fees, fewer work-study hours and reduced grants, and we are urging students to contact lawmakers and urge them to reverse the cuts. Be sure to contact your congressional representative  to let them know that students have given more than their fair share!  Our budget should not be balanced on the backs of hard working students.

    Bookmark this page for the latest in news and be sure to follow #studentfiscalcliff on Twitter.

    TEACH Grants Shrink and Loan Fees Increase as a Result of the Sequester (NAICU Washington Update)

    GOP delays controversial Labor-Education-HHS bill, but says it is close (The Hill)

    Explore the Sequester’s Effect on Higher Education Funding (US News & World Report)

    Sequestration Complicates College Aid Notices (USA Today)

    Sequester Cuts Hit Needy College Students’ Financial Aid (Huffington Post)

  • September6th

    On July 1, 2013 interest rates on many new federal student loans doubled–endangering the dreams of many middle class families. If this sounds familiar, its because we went through this last summer. The Student Aid Alliance rallied thousands of students across the country and Twitter was ablaze with the hashtag #studentfiscalcliff — we were out to let lawmakers know not to balance the budget on the backs of our nation’s college students.

    Congress kept interest rates low for one year–and now, that year has disappeared. Congress let the July 1 deadline pass without a deal, so come the fall, the interest rate on new subsidized student loans doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%. According to the White House, nearly seven million students will be affected by the rate increase, adding around $4.3 billion to the student debt burden next year.

    Even though the deadline has passed, Congress is still negotiating. Stay in the loop here.

    Pondering Pell (Inside Higher Education)

    Student-Loan Changes, With Lower Rates for Now, Are Set to Be Signed Into Law (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Congress Approves Student Loan Plan (Washington Post)

    Obama Administration Urges Passage of Senate Student-Loan Compromise (Education Week)

    Senate Reaches Deal to End Fight Over Student Loan Interest Rates (The New York Times)

    Senate Crafts a Deal on Student-Loan Interest Rates (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Senate Negotiates on Loans as Clock Ticks (National Journal)

    Even With Student-Loan Compromise, Rates Will Likely Increase (National Journal)

    Interest-Rate Jump Would Cost Average Borrowers $2,600 Over 10 Years (Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Senators Scramble to Prevent Doubling of Student-Loan Rates (National Journal)

    Kline Calls for Compromise on Student Loan Rates (Education & the Workforce Committee)

    Arne Duncan Bullish on Student Loan Deal (Politico.com)

    Everything You Need to Know About the Student Loan Rate Hike (Washington Post)

    Arne Duncan Signals Worry Over Student Debt Levels (Huffington Post)

    Moral Bankruptcy on Student Loans (Huffington Post)



  • July5th

    Providence Journal
    “This New England Blog” – Opinion Piece

    By Clay Pell

    July 3, 2012

    When I was a boy, my grandfather would take me on runs. “Shuffles,” he called them – 1.1 miles from the house and back. People would often stop us to thank him for helping them go to college.  By the time that I headed to college, Parkinson’s disease had long since slowed Grandpa’s gait. But he lovingly invested in my education – both financially and emotionally – every step of the way. My grandfather was Sen. Claiborne Pell, who 40 years ago overcame opposition in Congress to establish a grant enabling every American “with the moxie and the drive” to get access to a college education.

    Since 1972, Pell Grants have let 60 million students pursue higher education, including much of America’s current college-educated workforce and 9.8 million current students.All my life, people have approached me to say how much their Pell Grants meant to them. It’s not just that the money made  their educations possible, they say, but that they feel proud of, and grateful to, a country that invested in them.

    When the U.S. Coast Guard assigned me to Washington in 2009, I was naturally drawn to the debate over the Pell Grants. While here, it’s been interesting – and somewhat sad – to hear people say that we can no longer afford this program. Some think that higher education does not need to be accessible to all. Others suggest that the Pell Grants should be less ambitious, focusing not on those with the greatest need but rather those who fit a preconceived view of “the best investment.”

    When I hear those arguments, I remember the people who have shared their stories with me. Single mothers who went back to school and eventually earned Ph.D.s. Fellow officers in the U.S. Coast Guard who came out of poverty to attend college and now serve in the finest military in the world.

    Collectively, these students are our future, and they represent our changing face as a nation. More than 50 percent of African-American and 40 percent of Latino college students count on Pell Grants. For African-Americans, a bachelor’s degree erases any difference in economic mobility compared with their white peers. For the average American, a bachelor’s degree will add about $1 million to her or his lifetime earnings.

    Now is not the time to reduce their access to that opportunity. Even as more Americans go to college than ever before, the U.S. has slipped to 14th in the world in the proportion of young adults with a post-secondary credential. I am grateful that President Obama has called for full funding of the Pell Grants this and next year. I am grateful that Pell Grants has remained true to Grandpa’s original vision – grants, not debt – and awarded to students – not institutions – so that they can study wherever their drive leads them.
    But we have more to do.

    We must guarantee access to higher education, both as the primary means of upward social mobility for individuals and for our collective competitiveness around the globe. We must combat rising tuitions and student debt, continue to invest in higher education at the federal, state and local levels, and ensure that institutions themselves focus their own aid on the students with the greatest need.

    And we must demand that institutions provide the instruction and the support that students need for success. As we reached the midpoint on our shuffles, both of us probably ready to take a breather, Grandpa would remind me to keep up the pace, that we were not yet there. As we celebrate 40 years of the Pell Grants, Grandpa might remind us that we as a country are not yet there. We hold the responsibility for protecting Pell Grants and extending the dream of college to the next generation. Let’s keep the trust and make sure our generation keeps up the pace.

    Clay Pell is a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant now serving as a White House Fellow and director for strategic planning on the National Security Staff. The views here are his own. Click here to visit The Providence Journal.

  • July21st

    As President Obama and Congress work on a deficit-reduction plan that would decrease federal spending, much of the media’s attention has been directed toward the serious threat facing Pell Grant funding. The nation’s support for protecting student aid from budget cuts is reflected by the pro-Pell editorials and opinion pieces that have appeared in just the last few days. We encourage you to share them with others, and use them in your advocacy efforts!

    Here are links to the opinion pieces that have run recently.

    If you see other pro-student aid opinion pieces, please post links to them in the comments section below!

    Cuts in Pell Grants would have detrimental affects on the 9 million college students who currently receive them. For many of these students, the grant is the deciding factor of whether they can pursue a higher education.

  • February14th

    We sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives asking them to oppose the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (H.R. 1), citing drastic cuts to student aid programs that will cause significant damage to the U.S. economy in both the short and long term.

    Last year, with the assistance of a Pell Grant, a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and other forms of state- and campus-based aid, more than 1 million American students earned their credentials and are now armed with the skills to compete and succeed in the current economy. Slashing financial aid that more than 9 million families are depending on as they budget for the fall semester, mere months from the July 1 deadline for making these awards, will force millions of students to drop out of school.

    “By denying students the opportunity and the means to complete their educations, the proposed cuts will result in a dramatic and immediate impact on the American economy and competitiveness, ultimately impairing the ability of millions of college students to achieve the American dream,” said SAA Co-Chairman and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities President David L. Warren.

    “Labor economists have found that the United States economy will require 22 million new workers with college degrees by 2018. However, they also estimate that the country will fall short of that number by at least 3 million,” said SAA Co-Chairman and American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad. “Without the trained workers to fill these jobs, America will risk falling behind countries like China and India that have invested heavily in educating their workforces. The proposed cuts will exacerbate these problems by failing to prepare students to enter and succeed in college.”

    Want to help? Contact Congress or the media and speak up!