salutes late Sen. Claiborne Pell
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[January 06, 2009]
CHICAGO -- The Illinois Student
Assistance Commission issued a statement Monday about the passing of
former Sen. Claiborne Pell on Jan. 1. Pell's legacy includes the
creation of perhaps the most effective student aid program in U.S.
history, the Basic Opportunity Grant, which was later renamed in his
honor. Services for the late senator were held in Newport, R.I., on
Andrew Davis, ISAC executive director, said:
"The single most important feature of college affordability in the
U.S. today, and for the last 36 years, has been the Pell Grant
program. These need-based grants channeled directly to students were
the idea and became the passion of the just-deceased senator from
Rhode Island. By giving the money to students, and not to the
institutions of higher learning, Sen. Pell showed his trust in the
individual's ability to best make decisions for themselves. A
free-market thinker, this liberal New Englander was. He had the
foresight to protect the schools themselves from the inevitable
meddling that is certain partner of federal funding.
importantly, in structuring the grants as need-based, the Pell Grant
most elegantly enhances the cause of affordability while in no way
helping to fuel the fires of tuition inflation that other less
carefully crafted programs have been accurately accused of. These
reflect the wisdom, fine sense of policy and economic balance that
the senator brought to student financial aid.
"After 36 years
this national treasure of a program continues to help make college
affordable here in Illinois. For the most current completed year,
Department of Education reports show that over 200,000 students here
in Illinois are receiving nearly $500 million of aid from Pell
Grants. What a great public servant and statesman. We are honored to
carry on his vision."
Illinois ranked seventh among
funding received and also in the number of recipients, according to
the most recent Department of Education statistics available.
Illinois students received $482,953,597 worth of Pell Grant aid in
2006-07, with 201,326 recipients statewide.
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The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provides students of all
ages and backgrounds with the resources and support to obtain
financial aid for higher education.
A state agency, ISAC has paved the path to postsecondary
education with innovative programs for more than 50 years. Last year
alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college affordable for
Illinois students by issuing 185,000 grants and scholarships
totaling more than $448 million.
The commission coordinates educational funding with student
loans, as a loan guarantor and via numerous public programs such as
the successful Monetary Award Program, known as MAP; the Illinois
Veteran Grant; and College Illinois, the commission's groundbreaking
529 prepaid college tuition program. Students and families have free
access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information
at ISAC's family of sites available at
Illinois Student Assistance
Commission file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]