CICU calls on Congress to double Pell grants to support New York students and colleges

CICU joins nationwide advocacy efforts to increase the maximum Pell grant by 50th anniversary this June

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 13, 2022) — The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), which represents more than 100 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities across New York and over 460,000 students, supports the nationwide effort to double the maximum Pell Grant award to $13,000 to commemorate the program’s 50th anniversary this June 23.

During the 2020–21 academic year, college students in New York were in the top four states receiving Pell Grants, with more than 321,000 students receiving $1.5 billion in Pell Grants.

“As one of the leading recipients of Pell Grants, an increase in funding towards Pell would have a profound impact throughout New York State. Additional funding would further expand access to higher education to all students, and in particular to low-income families throughout the state,” said CICU President Lola Brabham. “Making higher education more accessible and more affordable allows students to set themselves on a path toward a better future. We implore Congress to do all that they can to support students by doubling Pell Grants.”

The Double Pell Alliance is a network of over a hundred higher education associations and organizations that formed the national #DoublePell campaign. The coalition serves as a hub for information and is spearheading the push for Congress to double the Pell Grant by the program’s 50th anniversary.

“As colleges and universities still grapple with enrollment issues brought on by the pandemic, increasing the Pell Grants would allow more New Yorkers to qualify for this essential financial aid,” Brabham noted. “We urge elected officials to double the Pell Grant. Now more than ever, we need to support New York’s colleges and universities and the students they serve.”

The Pell Grant was established in 1972 to provide federal financial aid to students across the country. The program offers grant aid based on an individual student’s needs. The maximum annual grant award is currently $6,495, an amount that has increased only minimally over the years and has not kept pace with the needs of students. At the program’s inception, a Pell Grant covered 79% of the average cost of a four-year public college, today it covers less than one-third of that cost. It’s time to “Double Pell”.

For more about CICU, its member institutions and its mission, visit


About the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York: The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) is a statewide association representing the public policy interests of the chief executives of New York’s independent colleges and universities.

Founded in 1956 by a small group of private, not-for-profit college and university presidents, CICU now represents 100+ independent colleges and universities across New York State. Although not a government agency, CICU is an educational corporation formed under the New York State Regents. Its mission is to develop consensus among a diverse membership and to advance higher education public policy.



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