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40 Years of Pell Grants, 40 Years of Promise

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This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Pell Grant, a program that has helped over 60 million low-income Americans afford a college education. Pell Grants are available to those students who would otherwise be unable to pay for college without need-based assistance. The grants also allow students to be less concerned about paying off debt once they complete their degree. Senator Claiborne Pell, the chief sponsor of the program, said, “Any student with the talent, desire, and drive, should be able to pursue higher education.” President Obama agrees with Senator Pell’s statement, and is committed to continuing and expanding Pell Grants as an investment in America’s future.

President Obama has prioritized Pell Grants as a reliable way to financially support students who need the most help. The administration has doubled funding for Pell Grants—helping nearly 10 million students afford college last year—and has raised the maximum Pell Grant award to keep up with rapidly rising college costs. President Obama also lowered administrative costs and secured more money for students by cutting banks out of the process of federal student lending. “Federal Pell Grants have helped millions of Americans achieve their fullest potential by not only opening the doors to college,” he said, “but also providing students the financial support necessary to complete their studies and prosper in today’s economy.”

The improvements the administration has made to the Pell Grant Program are another example of President Obama’s commitment to ensuring everyone has the chance to reach their fullest potential through a good education. President Obama, who himself had to take on substantial debt to go to college, understands how the financial burden of school can be a roadblock to an education. Improving the Pell Grant Program gives young people from low income families the tools to get a quality education and have a successful career. Senator Pell once said on the Senate floor, "The strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but the sum total of the education and the character of our people.” By providing larger Pell Grants to more students, President Obama is making a strong investment in America’s future and giving opportunity to everyone with a desire to learn.

Click here to learn more about Pell Grants.