Statement: Build Back Better framework is a step forward for students

-For Immediate Release-

Dan Xie, Student PIRGs Political Director, 858-353-1452, [email protected]
Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG Environment Campaigns Director, 609-610-8002, [email protected] 
Josh Chetwynd, Deputy Director, Media Relations, 303-573-5558, [email protected] 

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden released a framework of the Build Back Better Act Thursday after weeks of intense internal negotiations. The act, which will move through Congress via the budget reconciliation process, would –

  • Make historic investments in clean energy, including 10 years of tax credits that could lower the costs of rooftop solar by 30% and bring down the cost of an electric vehicle by up to $12,500,
  • Increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $550. This is an 8% increase to the Pell Grant which, at its current level, covers 28% of an average four-year college tuition, and
  • Invests in families by extending the $3,600 child tax credit.

Senior and Florida PIRG Students leader at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, Alex Gordon released the following statement:

“Climate change is the challenge of our generation. The Build Back Better Framework released today lays the foundation for the transition to clean renewable energy necessary to preserve a livable planet, clean air and clean water for generations to come. Young people across the country have been loud and clear in their calls for climate action. While there is more work to do, what’s on the table is certainly worth doing.

“We urge Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as soon as possible so we can take the essential next steps toward a greener and healthier future for my generation. As the details are confirmed, we also hope to see more of these new investments paid for by the polluters that got us into these messes in the first place.” 

Junior and President of PIRG Campus Action at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Katelynn Gilbert released the following statement:

“We support the increase to the Pell Grant in the Build Back Better Act. This will allow millions of students to go to college with less of a reliance on student loans. However, the $550 increase to the maximum Pell Grant still falls short of President Biden’s campaign promise to double these grant allotments. 

“Seven million students rely on Pell Grants. This used to be a huge lifeline because it once covered more than three-quarters of the average four-year college tuition. But now, even with these grants will only cover under a third of costs. This is just not enough for many Pell recipients to stay in school without struggling to pay for their tuition and fees as well as other expenses, such as housing, food and textbooks. Simply put, this program must keep up with the times. To make college affordable and accessible for all students, regardless of their families’ income, we urge the administration and Congress to make this announcement just a building block on the way to doubling Pell grants.”

Junior and President of PIRG Campus Action at the University of Arizona, Bita Mosallai released the following statement:

“The image of the average college student as a fresh high school graduate is long outdated. Over a quarter (26 percent) of all undergraduate students, or 4.8 million students, are raising dependent children. The past year posed intense new challenges for students who are parents and highlighted a long-standing gap in policy.

There are few more important roles in society than taking care of people but today we incentivize people to do other, less meaningful work so that they can pay other people to take care of their loved ones. We applaud the Build Back Better Act’s investment in the well-being of children and families.”