Editorial: Doubling Pell Grant creates opportunity for success


Zulfiqar Ahmed

NIU is working to help those students who need it most, with its support of the DoublePell campaign.

As tuition statements are prepared to run for the Spring 2022 semester, students across campus and the nation will receive financial aid that, while helpful, does not go as far as it used to when it was originally founded.

One of the biggest pools of grant money in the financial aid process is the Pell Grant which is provided on a need-based system to medium and low-income students to help alleviate some of the costs associated with higher education. 

While the current funding for the Pell Grant is not anything to scoff at, current funding for the grant sits at $26 billion, according to a study conducted by College Board. Though the budget might seem well-funded, NIU is working to help those students who need it most, with its support of the DoublePell campaign.

The Northern Star Editorial Board supports NIU’s advocacy for an increase in maxim annual Pell Grant Funding along with the DoublePell alliance’s goal of making the maxim annual amount $13,000. 

The DoublePell organization is an alliance between higher education associations, organizations and advocacy groups committed to doubling the maximum Pell Grant by June. NIU is a supporter of this initiative as 45% of NIU students receive some portion of a Pell Grant.

The current cost of tuition at NIU is $4,803.79 per term according to NIU. For two semesters of tuition alone, not including university fees, a student owes $9,607.58 per year. If Congress were to double the Pell Grant to $13,000, some students who meet Pell Grant criteria would be able to attend college at no cost to them, setting themselves up for a more financially stable future without the worry of student loan debt, which can burden some groups more than others.

While low-income households only hold about 20% of all student loan debt, of the group, only 10% make on-time payments, according to the Brookings Institute. The amount of debt held by low-income recipients creates a challenging burden to overcome so early in adult life. Doubling the Pell Grant would allow those students a better opportunity for future success.