Published: June 22, 2022

Federal Pell Grants, which have helped generations of low- and moderate-income CU Boulder students afford higher education, turned 50 years old on June 23, 2022.

The Pell Grant program helps more than 4,000 CU Boulder students annually and nearly 7 million recipients nationwide.

“Pell Grants represent a critical component of public education’s mission to help low- and moderate-income families achieve upward mobility,” said Chancellor Phil DiStefano. “Removing barriers to higher education for Pell-eligible students makes our democracy stronger and more pluralistic.”

The impact of the grant, however, has not matched inflation over time. When the Pell program was founded in the 1970s, the maximum award covered more than three-quarters of the average cost of attending college. 

Today, the maximum Pell Grant—$6,895 for the 2022–23 award year—covers just about one-third of the average cost of attendance.

Several higher education industry groups, including the Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU), have recently advocated for doubling the maximum amount, a position CU Boulder supports as a member of both organizations.

Students who may be eligible for Pell Grants or other undergraduate grants should visit the Office of Financial Aid to learn more.