A joint message from: the Oregon Student Association; the Oregon Community College Association representing Oregon’s 17 community colleges; the Oregon Council of Presidents representing Oregon’s eight public universities; and the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universitiesrepresenting 13 Oregon independent non-profit colleges and universities.
June 23, 2022, Marks the 50th Anniversary of the Federal Pell Grant. The Oregon Opportunity Grant enjoyed its 50th Anniversary in 2021.
A campaign to #DoublePell is underway. It has bipartisan public support and will help more students earn a degree, get good-paying jobs, and graduate with less debt. At a press conference held today to commemorate the event, Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read said, “Funding financial aid for students creates opportunities and is really important for the Oregon economy. Pell Grants are the federal government’s main tool for helping lower-income students and families access high education. Unfortunately, the funding levels have not kept up with costs. If I’ve learned anything in my work as Treasurer, it’s that there is no better investment than in the potential of rising young people.”
With the help of a Pell Grant and other student aid, Nicole Paredes-Cisneros recently graduated debt-free from the University of Oregon with two undergraduate degrees. Paredes-Cisneros is a first-generation student and stated that the Pell grant for her provided a sense of relief, sending her the message that “we’ve got it covered, just go and make us proud.” She urged Congress to double the amount of Pell Grants that are transformational and create opportunity for all students. She described the grants as “a light, a light that’s motivated students to reach for the sky, day-by-day”.
Chemeketa Community College student McKinzie McBride said, “The Pell Grant and scholarships that I have received widened the door of possibilities for me and my family. As a full-time mother, employee, and now student, completing college will be one of my greatest accomplishments in life and I am so thankful for having some of the financial burden relieved. The Pell Grant has helped make my dreams come true.”
“The Pell Grant has made college more affordable and will help me graduate without the burden of significant student loan debt,” said Ian Curtis, a senior at Willamette University. “As the costs associated with attending college increase, the Pell Grant must increase as well. The Pell Grant program is a strategic investment in the future of our nation. It is time to double the Pell Grant and invest in a program that will yield strong returns in the years to come.”
A video of today’s press conference can be seen here.