NEC Calls on Congress to Double Pell Grant

Letter to New England delegation highlights need for more federal support to expand access to higher education

BOSTON (March 9, 2021) – The New England Council, a non-partisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations, is urging Congress to double the maximum amount for federal Pell Grant.  Established by Congress in 1972 and named for the late U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, the federal Pell Grant program is a need-based federal grant for low-income students to pursue undergraduate education.

In a letter send to each member of the New England House and Senate delegation yesterday, the Council encouraged the region’s Senators and Representatives to support any legislation put forth to double the maximum amount for the Pell Grant program, and also called for making that increased portion of the grant permanent by making it an entitlement.  In 2021, the Pell Grant program will provide more than $1.2 billion to help low-income students pursue undergraduate degrees at institutions in New England.

Read the Council’s Letter Here

“The Pell Grant program is a vital tool to ensure that low-income students—many of whom are first generation college students—are able to pursue their undergraduate degree,” said James T. Brett, President & CEO of The New England Council.  “Our region’s economic wellbeing is dependent on a talented pipeline of workers with the education, skills, and training to drive continued growth.  By increasing Pell Grant funding, more students will be able to pursue higher education, and ultimately become valued members of our region’s workforce.”

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange.  For more information, please visit:

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