Tell Our New Lawmakers Why You're #Thankful4Pell

November 14, 2016

By Allie Ciaramella, Communications Manager 

As the college access and success field prepares for President-elect Donald Trump and a new Congress to take office, it’s more important than ever that we advocate for federal education policies that will help all students achieve their educational dreams for college attainment. This is an opportunity to share information and strategies for helping more Americans gain postsecondary credentials and contribute to our country’s prosperity, and the potential for a renewed emphasis on protection of the Pell Grant makes this week’s timing of the third annual #Thankful4Pell campaign especially pertinent.

Last academic year, nearly 8 million students - including 33 percent of all undergraduates - benefited from receiving a federal Pell Grant. Without this support from the federal government, many low-income students would not be able to pursue education beyond high school – education that is increasingly important for entry into the competitive workforce. Yet the value of the Pell Grant continues to fall as college costs rise, and some lawmakers sought recently to remove federal funds from the program's surplus. And with a new wave of policymakers coming to Washington, it’s critical that they hear the voices and insights of our members and their students.

Because of the Pell Grant program's profound impact on higher education and college access specifically, for the third year in a row, the National College Access Network, NCAN members, and our partners are all joining together this Thanksgiving season to say we are thankful for Pell. Students and college access professionals can now access their respective #Thankful4Pell campaign materials at NCAN's Action CenterWe hope you’ll join us in spreading this crucial message starting now through Nov. 20.

Technically speaking, our website displays two campaigns: one for college access professionals and one for students. This is because users who click through one or the other campaign will be prompted to write, tweet or Facebook their congressional representatives, and we have provided a letter template based on whether the user is a student or college access professional. While both campaigns are part of the larger #Thankful4Pell initiative, professionals should engage in the campaign titled “College Access Professionals: Tell Congress Why You’re #Thankful4Pell,” while directing their students through social media, email and other available means to engage in the campaign titled “Students: Tell Congress Why You’re #Thankful4Pell.” 

Please join us this week in showing our appreciation for the crucial Pell Grant program by contacting your elected representatives. At NCAN’s Action Center, you can seamlessly:

Write to Congress 
Make clear to your elected officials how important the Pell Grant is to your students, and have your students share how Pell has impacted them. NCAN encourages everyone to personalize their letters as much as possible, and include both your home and (where applicable) work addresses to be sure you reach the relevant lawmakers, including newly elected ones who may not know NCAN yet but with whom we’ll be working in the future. 

Share on Twitter and Facebook
The campaign provides sample tweets, but please be creative! NCAN also encourages you to swap your Twitter profile photo with the #Thankful4Pell logo during the course of the campaign. For maximum impact, print the logo, take a photo of yourself or your students with it, and include that photo in social posts explaining why you're #Thankful4Pell. (Don't forget the hashtag!)

Help Us Spread the Word!
Share this opportunity widely with your local partners, funders, and especially students, who can find #Thankful4Pell materials customized for them at NCAN's Action Center. Questions should be directed to Allie Ciaramella, NCAN's Communications Manager.

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