Letter from President Eisgruber and Other Leaders of New Jersey Colleges and Universities to New Jersey Congressional Delegation Regarding Doubling Pell Grants

Sept. 23, 2021

September 22, 2021

To the New Jersey Congressional Delegation

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of our institutions—and, more important, on behalf of students of modest means throughout New Jersey and across the country—we write to urge your support for doubling the maximum Pell Grant award as you develop and vote on a budget reconciliation package this month.

At the time of its enactment, the Pell Grant covered nearly 80 percent of the cost of attending a public four-year college.  However, the Pell now accounts for less than 30 percent of the cost of attendance, and it is time for a dramatic recalibration of this vital program to restore the promise of Pell to make college possible for the next generation of postsecondary students.

Here in New Jersey, more than 150,000 students each year receive Pell Grants, part of a current universe of 7 million Pell recipients nationwide—including a clear majority of Black students and about half of Latinx students currently enrolled in college.  We know there are other potential Pell recipients who believe a college education is beyond their means and thus do not even apply for this benefit.  For those students, the wealth gap will only grow wider.

It is exciting and gratifying to see that Congress and the President have been considering ways to help make college more affordable.  A college degree is a hugely important tool of social mobility that opens a wide range of opportunities for careers that can transform the lives of students and their families, in addition to propelling economic prosperity and job growth.

Doubling the maximum Pell Grant will help more students from low- and middle-income families to get to and through college.  That helps everyone:  by cultivating talent from every sector of society, we make our state, and our country, stronger and better.

We believe that, among many thoughtful proposals for increasing access to higher education, doubling the maximum Pell Grant award should be the foundation upon which other efforts can be built.  Pell is a proven program, and in combination with other federal aid, state aid, and institutional grants, has provided millions of low-income students a wide array of postsecondary opportunities at both two- and four-year colleges and universities.

With our continued gratitude for the relief funds that you and your colleagues helped make available to New Jersey college students during the pandemic, we ask that you support this long-term investment in our nation’s and the state’s young people, for whom a college education will be life-changing.


Christopher L. Eisgruber

President, Princeton University

Jonathan Holloway, Ph.D.

President, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Barbara Gaba, Ph.D.

President, Atlantic Cape Community College

Eric Friedman, Ph.D.

President, Bergen Community College

Rabbi Aaron Kotler

President, Beth Medrash Govoha

Marcheta Evans, Ph.D.

President, Bloomfield College

David Stout, Ph.D.

President, Brookdale Community College

Matthew Whelan, Ed.D.

President, Caldwell University

Donald A. Borden

President, Camden County College

Bruce Murphy, Ed.D.

President, Centenary University

Kathryn A. Foster, Ph.D.

President, The College of New Jersey

Anthony J. Iacono, Ph.D.

President, County College of Morris

Thomas J. Schwarz

President, Drew University

Augustine Boakye, Ph.D.

Interim President, Essex County College

Christopher A. Capuano, Ph.D.

President, Fairleigh Dickinson University

J.W Crawford, III

President, Felician University

Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D.

President, Georgian Court University

Christopher M. Reber, Ph.D.

President, Hudson County Community College

Lamont Repollet, Ed.D.

President, Kean University

Jianping Wang, Ed.D.

President, Mercer County Community College

Mark McCormick, J.D., Ed.D.

President, Middlesex County College

Patrick Leahy, Ed.D.

President, Monmouth University

Jonathan GS Koppell, Ph.D.

President, Montclair State University

Sue Henderson, Ph.D.

President, New Jersey City University

Joel Bloom, Ed.D.

President, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.

President, Ocean County College

Steven M. Rose, Ed.D.

President, Passaic County Community College

Cindy R. Jebb, Ph.D.

President, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Michael J. McDonough, Ph.D.

President, Raritan Valley Community College

Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D.

President, Rider University

Michael A. Cioce, Ed.D.

President, Rowan College at Burlington County

Frederick Keating, Ed.D.

President, Rowan College of South Jersey

Ali A. Houshmand, Ph.D.

President, Rowan University

Gary B. Crosby, Ph.D.

President, Saint Elizabeth University

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D.

President, Saint Peter’s University

Michael R. Gorman, Ed.D.

President, Salem Community College

 Joseph Nyre, Ph.D.

President, Seton Hall University

Nariman Farvardin, Ph.D.

President, Stevens Institute

Harvey Kesselman, Ed.D.

President, Stockton University

Jon H. Connolly

President, Sussex County Community College

Merodie A. Hancock, Ph.D.

President, Thomas Edison State University

Margaret M. McMenamin, Ed.D

President, Union County College

William J. Austin, Ed.D.

President, Warren County Community College

Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.

President, William Paterson University