Today: May 22, 2024

DeLauro encourages Pell grant increase

Sofia RositaniEditor-in-Chief

U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro spoke at Buley Library about tuition rates and the Pell grant.  

Students and faculty were on the panel talking about how the Pell grant helped them to pay for their college.  

“I will share with you that at Southern 43 percent of our degree seeking undergraduate students are Pell recepients, and 53 percent of those who apply for financial aid are also Pell recipients have received those grants,” President Joe Bertolino said.  

Currently, 49 percent of the first years at the university qualify for the Pell grant.  

“With the increase in the maximum Pell award next year the grant will be $707,395 per year for eligible students,” Bertolino said.  

Bertolino introduced President of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, Terrence Chang, spoke about how this will benefit students in the colleges and universities around Connecticut and how without DeLauro this would not be available for many students.  

“Tens of thousands of students at CSCU would literally not go to college without the Pell program. So, the increases to Pell will increase our opportunities and it will specifically increase the level of opportunity for students in public higher education,” Chang said.  

Students and faculty from Albertus Magnus College were a part of the panel. President of Albertus Magnus College, Marc Camille, spoke about how half the students at the college receive Pell grants and without them many would not have the opportunity to pursue the degrees.  

“Earning a college degree, making the most of opportunity, and that opportunity that comes with our government’s continued investments in the Pell grant. That is the promise that all of our students at our shared institutions can benefit from by taking advantage of opportunity,” Camille said.  

Students are the reason the speakers were there and during the panel three students spoke about how the Pell grant helped them. Two of the students were from Southern and the third was from Albertus Magnus.  

Communications major, Wilson Valois, a senior spoke about how well the university has treated him and everything he has been able to accomplish.  

“Unfortunately, even with all the memories made, there’s still a financial barrier between myself and all the opportunities there are to learn and grow at this university. Like many students I chose Southern because it was all I could afford,” Valois said.  

He said that he questioned if he should continue with his education because of how expensive tuition and books are. With the Pell Grant he was allowed to continue his education and become the first student in his family to get a degree.  

“I can proudly say that I am currently supporting myself through college and have been able to reach this level of independence because of receiving the Federal Pell Grant,” computer science major, Siddhi Suresh, a senior said.  

DeLauro comes from a family of immigrants; her dad came to America in 1913 from Italy and he spoke no English. She said that even with all the hardships she still was the first to get a college degree in her family.  

“I think when my dad went to pay the final payment in the Second National Bank, on Church St. In New Haven, the President and the employees there stood up and cheered because he was able to do that but not everyone can do that,” DeLauro said.  

DeLauro talked about where the name Pell came from. The grant has helped more than 80 million students, she said.  

“For more than half a century the program has been the cornerstone of financial education for students,” DeLauro said.  

The grant supports 7 million students each year and 13,400 students in the third congressional district and 44,000 across the state of Connecticut are supported by the Pell Grant DeLauro said.  

DeLauro said, “I look forward to working with you as we make our way through these next two years. The next budgets for 2024 which in fact does not cut Pell but increases Pell all the more to meet the needs of its students.” 

Photo Credit: Sarah Shelton

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