Act Now to Help Save Pell Grants

August 03, 2012

For 40 years, the federal Pell Grants program has made postsecondary education and job training possible for millions of students. Last year alone, 9 million low- and moderate-income students were able to go to college because they received a federal Pell Grant. Although Pell Grants substantially increase college enrollment among low- and moderate-income students, strengthen the workforce and help provide employers with the skilled workers they need, the program has become a primary target of cuts in budget and deficit debates. Heading into the fall, it's critical that Congress know the support behind the Pell grants program. 

Thirty years ago, the maximum Pell Grant covered nearly three-fourths of the cost to attend a four-year public college. Today, the Pell Grant covers only about a third.

Billions were already slashed from the Pell Program budget last year. Further Pell cuts will mean fewer Americans with college degrees, which harms our economy and our democracy. Employers have long lamented the lack of qualified workers to support rapid-growth industries and jobs that require education beyond high school.

CLASP senior policy analyst Vickie Choitz discussed on Oklahoma's NewsRadio KTOK this increase in demand for skilled workers and the economic imperative for more students to access postsecondary education.

Our nation is built on the values of education, hard work and opportunity. Pell Grants help millions access an education and improve their lives. Join us in the fight to the protect the Pell Grants program and keep college within reach for millions of students wanting to advance in the workforce and for their families. 

Here's what you can do to help:

  • Learn more at
  • Visit the Save Pell Action Center
  • Share information about the importance of Pell widely with your networks.
  • Submit your own personal story about Pell.
  • Connect on Facebook and share with your friends.
  • Blog about the need to protect Pell from cuts to the maximum amount or harmful changes to the eligibility requirements.
  • Tweet about the importance of Pell using the #SavePell hashtag. Below are some sample tweets:

75% of college students work. House budget bill slashes Federal Pell Grants, punishing these hard-working students. Help #SavePell

Not enough HS grads to meet workforce needs. Must invest in building skills of ppl already working. They need Pell Grants too. #SavePell

35% of undergrads are 25 yrs; 47% are independent from their parents. Many need Pell to afford college. Don't cut them out. #SavePell

Did a Pell Grant help you afford college?  Tell us your story & we'll RT: I am a (What's your occupation? Nurse? Mechanic?) and Pell alumni

Additional Resources:

NEW: Pell Grants Help Keep College Affordable for Millions of Americans (updated April 2014)

 An Arbitrary Maximum Income Cap Would Eliminate Pell Grants for Needy Students (updated April 2013)

 Factsheet: Independent Students Depend on Pell Grants for Access to College (updated November 2012)

Analyses of Proposed Pell Grant Eligibility Changes

 Analyses of Ability-to-Benefit Changes

Other Resources

Compelling Stories of Pell Grant Recipients

View the rest of the interview at Spotlight on Poverty's website >>

Updated 6/19/2012

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