Tweets, E-mails Fly to ‘Save Pell’

Students are planning to take on the government in their media today, staging a one-day blitz of tweets, emails and other electronic messages to members of Congress and President Barack Obama, demanding that cuts to collegiate Pell Grants be excluded from continuing debt negotiations. It’s part of a continuing campaign to spotlight what the grants have enabled students to accomplish.

Pell Grants, which have become the backbone of college financial aid for low-income students, have grown by millions of recipients during the recession and now help support about 10 million college students.  That large amount of money – about $30 billion in the current budget – makes it a massive target for the debt trimmers.

Under pending proposals, Pell Grant funding would have to be cut about $11 billion, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said at a roundtable discussion about for-profit college last week. Under those proposals,  which would lower income regulations for recipients, about 1.5 million students would lose Pell funding altogether and others would have their grants reduced by as much as 45 percent. The current maximum grant is $5,500, though not everyone receives the maximum.

Unlike student loans, Pell Grants do not have to be repaid.  They are named in honor of Sen. Claiborne Pell, who represented Rhode Island in the Senate for six terms and sponsored the legislation that established the grants, then known as Basic Educational Opportunity Grants. Though they once covered as much as three-quarters of college costs, they now generally cover less than a third of the cost of going to college. And nearly two-thirds of  Pell recipients still must take out loans to pay for part of their education.

Although students have been notified of the amount of Pell grant money they are eligible to receive for the upcoming school year, none of that money has been paid out yet.  A spokeswoman for The Education Trust, one of the groups spearheading “Save Pell Day” said the cutbacks probably would begin with the 2012-13 school year, but that is not certain.

During negotiations early this year on the 2011 appropriations package, there were indications that the grants might have to be cut mid-year.

“Save Pell Day” has its own Facebook page, Twitter account and Tumblr blog. Anyone wanting to participate in the campaign can contact one of the social media and receive information about their elected officials and how to contact them. The group’s website ( has testimonials from graduates and current students who have depended on Pell Grants to further their education.

The Save Pell group is an affiliation of  civil rights, social justice, education and youth groups including The Education Trust, the Young Invincibles,  Campus Progress (Center for American Progress), the Institute for College Access and Success and various Hispanic and African-American social justice groups.


Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Recent Comments




Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top