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Low-income college students are in dire need of assistance, and it needs to come from doubling the Pell Grant. Doubling the Pell would be hugely beneficial to low-income students affected by the pandemic, and the results will leave a lasting positive impact on society in the long run. Students — especially at UCR — have been putting in countless hours lobbying for this legislation to pass, but the burden must also fall on faculty
and administration.

Students need government funding now more than ever. In fact, it has become increasingly important that Congress puts this in motion now as a result of the pandemic that has left many students out of work. Unfortunately, older generations boast about pulling themselves up from their bootstraps and not needing help from the government, believing
the youth should struggle like they did. However, what these people don’t grasp is that times have changed. Tuition is far more expensive than what it used to be, and it is
only going to keep increasing. Additionally, the cost of living in most areas has gone up significantly from when these generations were students. This makes it that much harder for current students to support themselves through school when they also have to worry about living situations. When looking at these differences, doubling the Pell Grant is necessary and should happen sooner rather than later.

The obstacles seem vast and never-ending, but people fail to see the bigger picture. A large challenge facing this legislation is the bureaucracy and the partisanship. Especially in this current political climate, Congress is very divided and often lacks the capability to prioritize the right things. But while there’s always a hesitancy to increase government spending, the benefits of doubling the Pell Grant will outlive the concerns being raised in the present.

It’s very likely that many people will refuse this aid to lower-income students given that their taxes will increase. And while no one wants to pay higher taxes, this cause will be beneficial to society in the long run if the American people practice a little more empathy towards students in need. Paying higher taxes does not outweigh the outcome of what doubling this grant will do for the future of American society.

If Congress fails to double the Pell Grant, students will be less likely to perform well in school, and they will have no choice but to prioritize other things such as taking up multiple jobs instead of focusing on their studies. The Pell Grant eases the financial stress of low-income students supporting themselves through college. Additionally, students will not have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet, and their energy can be put toward other organizations on campus that will benefit them when they enter the workforce.

The Pell Grant also gives low-income students a chance to escape poverty. Although the government is hesitant to get involved with education, they need to understand that doubling the Pell Grant will give an immense amount of people an equal opportunity to higher education that they would not have had otherwise. Society benefits from having more college graduates in the workforce, so the government should do whatever it takes to help these students succeed.

If we want to see lower-income students getting the help they deserve, it is going to require a large commitment not only from students, but also university administrations in order to lobby and get this passed. In fact, UCR would benefit the most from this as it has the largest enrollment of Pell Grant recipients than the Ivy League schools combined. Not to mention, UCR is the most diverse University of California campus with a large majority of students coming from poverty. Thus, the UCR administration needs to do more to make sure that their students are getting the help they need.

The UC often puts the burden on students to be activists regarding these issues instead of the university itself being vocal. But students are up to their throats in work with clubs, organizations, classes and now lobbying to double the Pell. This is too great of a burden for students to carry alone, and if we want any changes to occur, administrations, especially at UCR, must help put in the work.

It’s important to keep this conversation going by raising awareness in any way possible, and participating or lending support to student-led advocacy groups are an important part of this. Low-income students deserve a chance to escape poverty and attend college stress-free. Doubling the Pell Grant will create a leveled playing field for all college students, which will benefit society in the long run. So while it may be quite some time until administrations are fully involved, students must not lose hope and continue fighting until something gets done.

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