Federal investments in student aid enable millions of Americans to attend college each year and are critical to the long-term future of the nation. With additional federal student aid, students will know they can pursue their higher education goals even in uncertain times.

Federal investments in student aid are critical to the long-term future of the nation. Over the last three years, Congress has made bold investments in student aid, increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by more than $1,000 and increasing funding each year for:

  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  • Federal Work-Study
  • TRIO and GEAR UP
  • Programs for graduate students

But after years of deferred investment, more needs to be done to help our nation’s college students. We call on Congress to continue building on these contributions to the federal student aid programs. The most direct way to improve college affordability is to enhance and expand proven, successful programs. Not only is this an investment in students’ futures, but it is also an investment in our country’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

    The cornerstone of these investments is the federal Pell Grant program, which is why the Student Aid Alliance calls on Congress to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $13,000.

Student Aid Priorities

Federal Pell Grant Program

Pell Grants are the largest student aid program, the foundation of federal student aid, and focused on students from low-income households who need financial support the most.  Unlike student loans, they do not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded from the federal government to low-income students for undergraduate study at all colleges and universities.

  • Student Aid Alliance Request: $13,000 (maximum grant award)
  • Biden Administration Proposal: $8,215
  • FY 2023 Appropriation: $7,395

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)

SEOG grants, unlike student loans, do not have to be repaid. They are awarded to Pell Grant recipients with the greatest need at participating institutions. Colleges match federal funding to help low-income students borrow less and persist to completion.

  • Student Aid Alliance Request: $1.115 Billion
  • Biden Administration Proposal: $910 Million
  • FY 2023 Appropriation: $910 Million

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)

FWS provides part-time jobs to help students work their way through college while building professional skills. Colleges and other employers match federal funding for jobs at participating institutions, local businesses, or in community service. Work-study recipients are connected to the campus community, which helps them complete college on time.

  • Student Aid Alliance Request: $1.555 Billion
  • Biden Administration Proposal: $1.23 Billion
  • FY 2023 Appropriation: $1.23 Billion

TRIO Programs

TRIO programs help low-income, first-generation college Americans enter college, graduate, and launch a career. The programs provide a pipeline of educational outreach and student support services from middle school through postgraduate study. The institution-based programs provide tutoring, personal, financial and career counseling, and special instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, and study skills.

  • Student Aid Alliance Request: $1.298 Billion
  • Biden Administration Proposal: $1.298 Billion
  • FY 2023 Appropriation: $1.191 Billion

GEAR UP 

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) target at-risk 7th grade cohorts and work with them through high school to prepare and apply for college. States and local partnerships receive federal funds to create programs.

  • Student Aid Alliance Request: $410 Million
  • Biden Administration Proposal: $408 Million
  • FY 2023 Appropriation: $388 Million

Graduate Programs

The Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program supports increasing the quality of students who prepare for research and teaching. GAANN targets high-performing and high-need graduate students in areas of national competitiveness.

  • Student Aid Alliance Request: $35 Million
  • Biden Administration Proposal: $23.5 Million
  • FY 2023 Appropriation: $23.5 Million

“I am a first-generation, low-income student at Georgetown and a Truman Scholar from Alabama. Federal student aid is the only way students like me are able to go to college.”

-Amanda, Georgetown University

What’s the Latest on Student Aid?

In December 2022, Congress enacted student aid funding for Fiscal Year 2023 that included a $500 increase – to $7,395 – in the maximum Pell Grant award and increases for all other student aid programs. The President signed this bill into law and these funds become available July 1, 2023.

For Fiscal Year 2024, the President requested an $820 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award, along with various increases for the other student aid programs. Congress will take the next steps in the budget and appropriations process.

At the end of March, 2023, the Student Aid Alliance sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee asking them to continue the tradition of strong bipartisan support for federal student aid.

On July 20, 2023, the Student Aid Alliance sent a letter to the leaders of the House Committee on Appropriations expressing deep concern with proposed cuts to student aid programs in the House Labor-HHS-Education funding bill, and calling on Congress to continue its bipartisan support of federal student aid programs.

On September 29, 2023, the Student Aid Alliance sent a letter to Secretary Cardona and the Office of Management and Budget regarding the FY 2025 President’s Budget request.

On November 15, 2023, the Student Aid Alliance sent a letter to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) opposing the student aid funding cuts in the FY 2024 Labor-HHS appropriations bill.

About Student Aid Alliance

We are a coalition of 40 higher education organizations united in our support for federal student aid. The Student Aid Alliance is thrilled to bring you the Save Student Aid campaign to raise awareness about the importance of federal student aid for America’s future.