News: Federal Policy & Advocacy

It’s Virtual Advocacy Week: We're Asking Congress to #DoublePell

Monday, July 20, 2020  
Posted by: Raymond AlQaisi, Policy and Advocacy Manager
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In light of the compounding crises brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, students face unprecedented uncertainty in their college pursuits. To curb these negative impacts and ensure our nation’s economic well-being, NCAN – in coordination with our members and many other partners focused on education – is calling for a dramatic and sustained investment in the Pell Grant program.

NCAN has called upon our members to join us in asking Congress to #DoublePell for eligible students in next COVID relief package.

To support this effort, over the past three weeks, NCAN has hosted a virtual training series preparing our members for advocating for #DoublePell. In all, 171 NCAN members, their students and board members – representing 31 states and 89 organizations – have gotten involved in this effort.

Virtual Advocacy Week kicked off on Monday, July 20, as the beginning of the campaign to carry this message to Congress.

Why #DoublePell?

The Pell Grant program has been the financial aid cornerstone for students from low-income backgrounds pursuing higher education since its creation in 1972. Pell provides crucial support for around 7 million students each year, and without this essential aid, many students would face even greater hardship in trying to afford college.

Unfortunately, the purchasing power of the Pell Grant has continuously declined since the mid-1970s. At its peak in 1975-76, the maximum Pell award covered more than 75% of the average cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses for a four-year public university. Today, it covers less than 30%.

To make matters worse, even before the COVID crisis, college affordability has significantly declined in recent years, according to NCAN’s research. Utilizing research, and the best available data, NCAN created state profiles of college affordability, which can be used as advocacy material towards this effort.

Find your state's profile on NCAN's dedicated website.

Why now?

This is a time of extraordinary need. The current public health crisis and resulting economic challenges are only exacerbating the financial difficulties faced by students – preventing many from pursuing and completing college degrees.

#DoublePell will restore the purchasing power of this important, need-based financial aid, help more students stay on the path to college graduation, and secure our nation's economic future.

What can you do to get involved?

There are two ways to get immediately involved in NCAN’s #DoublePell campaign.

First, schedule meetings/phone calls with your members of Congress this week and ask them to support #DoublePell.

Second, visit NCAN's Action Center to send a pre-written email and/or tweet to your members of Congress. Note: If you are hosting congressional meetings, you should not send the drafted email, as it would be duplicative messaging.


At any point during Virtual Advocacy Week, please feel free to reach out to NCAN's policy and advocacy manager, Raymond AlQaisi, with any questions – raymond@ncan.org.