Now is the time to tell your Congressional representatives to reinstate Year-Round Pell grants.
Here’s What You Can Do
- Send a letter to your representative (click here for a handy letter template).
- Make an appointment with your representative.
- Use these talking points.
- Engage in social media using the social media templates.
Congress has adjourned until after the elections, which provides an opportunity for community college leaders to meet with their representatives at home and advocate for key priorities. When they come back for the post-election “lame duck” session, Congressional leaders will be finalizing the details of FY 17 funding legislation, making now a perfect time to urge your members of Congress to reinstate year-round Pell Grants (YRP) in final FY 2017 appropriations legislation.
Congress is closer than ever to reinstating YRP, which was eliminated in 2011due to a large budget shortfall in the Pell Grant program. The program currently has a substantial surplus, which is why many lawmakers think now is the time to reinstate YRP.
Even members of Congress are saying #PellYes. Download the signed letter from November 1, 2016.
A Little Background
In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bipartisan Labor, HHS and Education (LHHS) FY 17 appropriations bill that included a provision to reinstate YRP. The provision was crafted to ensure that part-time students, and not just those that complete 24 credits in the first two semesters, would be eligible. AACC strongly supports this language.
Just before Congress adjourned for its summer recess, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the bill, which did not reinstate YRP. However, top Republicans on the committee expressed support for the concept and a willingness to keep the issue on the table in final negotiations on the funding bill.
Please tell your Congressional representatives to reinstate YRP as was done in the Senate LHHS FY 17 appropriations bill.
Re.: Support Reinstatement of Year-Round Pell Grants
On behalf of the XXXXX students at XXXX College, I urge you to SUPPORT the reinstatement of Year-Round Pell Grants in the final FY 2017 appropriations legislation.
Year-Round Pell is critical to 40% of the nation’s community college students. These colleges serve the majority of the underrepresented student population in the country and are a pathway to the middle class for many Americans. Access to critical funds for these students would allow them to continue working toward their educational goals, bringing them closer to better paying jobs and the American Dream.
We have witnessed first-hand the impact of financial barriers on students’ education. At XXXXX College, we have worked diligently to improve student success on campus. Having access to these funds will help students stay on track toward that success.
Should you need further information, please feel free to contact me at INSERT CONTACT INFORMATION.
The reasons for reinstating the YRP include:
- YRP will be an invaluable aid to students seeking to stay in school and progress more rapidly to a credential. Nearly 40% of all community college students receive a Pell Grant.
- YRP has substantial bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill and from the Obama administration. The question of reinstating it has long been a matter of “how” to pay for it rather than whether to reinstate it. The Pell Grant surplus answers that question; the multi-year Pell Grant surplus can and should be used to fund YRP. Reinstating YRP does not require cuts to other programs.
- When YRP was suddenly eliminated, many community colleges were in the process of planning for and implementing YRP programs. These activities could resume immediately upon reinstatement of the program.
- Research has shown consistently that staying and making progress in school are important for completion. This is especially true for the neediest students who are served primarily by community colleges.
For more information contact Jim Hermes, Associate Vice President for Government Relations, email@example.com, or David Baime, SVP for Government Relations and Policy Analysis, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Social Media Templates
Use these tweets to spread the word and hashtag #PellYes on Twitter.
US Congress can help students to the finish line by reinstating year-round Pell Grants. #PellYes #comm_college
Congress is on break but my education is not. Reinstate year-round Pell Grants. #PellYes #comm_college
Hey #comm_college students, Congress needs to hear from you! Tell them how year-round Pell Grants helped you. #PellYes
If year-round Pell Grants make a difference in your #comm_college life, let Congress know by telling them #PellYes.
Community Colleges across the country are adding their voices, telling Congress to reinstate year-round Pell Grants. #PellYes
Use these images to spread the word and hashtag #PellYes on Twitter or Instagram.