Press Release

Cuellar Announces $22.5 Billion for Pell Grants

Estimated 1 Million Students to Receive "Summer" Grants

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Washington, May 2, 2017 | Victoria Glynn | comments

Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) announced the inclusion of language in the Omnibus Appropriations Act to increase the maximum award for Pell Grants, and change federal rules to allow Pell Grants to be applied to Summer tuition.

The maximum Pell Grant will increase from $5,815 to $5,920 – up to $105 more per student. In addition, after visiting with administrators at South Texas colleges and universities, Congressman Cuellar supported language that reinstates year-round, or "Summer," Pell Grants which are estimated to provide approximately 1 million students nationwide with an additional grant averaging $1,650.

More than 9,500 students in Texas’ 28th Congressional district received Pell Grants for the 2016-2017 school year, adding up to more than $36 million distributed just to students in Congressman Cuellar’s district.

Rep. Cuellar stated, "This is a game changer for both our colleges and universities, and South Texas families. For most South Texas families, Pell Grants are the key to college affordability. Both the increase and reinstatement of the Summer grant mean more students can graduate sooner, and graduate with less debt. This was one of our top priorities and I am grateful to Appropriations Committee Chairman Frelinghusen and Ranking Member Lowey, as well as Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro for their bipartisan effort. When both parties work together we get common sense policies that support the middle class and make our country better."

Dr. Pablo Arenaz, President of Texas A&M International University, said, “At Texas A&M International University, Cong. Cuellar’s advocacy has significantly accelerated students’ degree pursuit and career success. As the most degreed member in Congress, his advocacy is clearly rooted in his personal experience, which inspires our students daily. As a champion of higher education in our Congress, he has few equals.  We applaud his commitment to ensuring students can attend institutions that change lives.”


LCC President Dr. Ricardo J. Solis said that the college applauds Congressman Cuellar for his efforts to expand the Pell Grant’s reach. He said, “Congressman Cuellar’s support for Laredo Community College and our students is greatly appreciated and continues to make a difference in our students’ lives. Success at the college level is dependent on financial aid for many of our students. The Pell Grant helps provide much-needed financial support necessary to complete a certificate or associate degree program. By increasing the maximum award and allowing it to cover summer courses, students are far more likely to graduate on time and achieve greater success.”


Universities in the South Texas region and their percentage of Pell Grant recipients (for which the latest NCES data is available) who are first time, full time degree seekers:


·         Baptist University of the Americas (San Antonio)   74%

·         Hallmark University (San Antonio)   65%

·         Laredo Community College   79%

·         Northwest Vista College (San Antonio)   51%

·         Our Lady of the Lake University (San Antonio)   64%

·         Palo Alto College (San Antonio)   69%

·         South Texas College (McAllen)   80%

·         St. Mary’s University (San Antonio)   52%

·         St. Philip’s College (San Antonio)   65%

·         Texas A&M International University (Laredo)   67%

·         The University of Texas at San Antonio   47%

·         The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio   33%

·         The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley   70%

·         University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio)   46%

·         Wayland Baptist University (San Antonio)   51%

·          Texas A&M San Antonio  50%

The budget compromise avoids a government shutdown and funds the federal government through the remainder of fiscal year 2017. 

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