AAU President Barbara R. Snyder sent a letter to Congress expressing support for certain provisions of the Build Back Better Act and urging some important modifications as the bill advances through the legislative process. The letter emphasizes the significance of a successful government-university partnership and asks Congress to improve the legislation so it benefits students and America’s research and innovation enterprise.
The letter urges Congress to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $1,875 as a down payment toward doubling the award and to support the proposed new retention and completion grants program totaling $9 billion. It also asks Congress to make new investments to support research and development infrastructure at HBCUs, TCUs, HSIs, and other MSIs.
The letter expresses support for several investments that the bill makes in the nation’s scientific research infrastructure, such as increased funding for the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. It also expresses support for funds to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and for the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority. The letter also commends the inclusion of several important tax provisions that affect students and universities, such as ending the taxation of Pell Grants and modifying the excise tax on investment income for some private nonprofit universities to align with the institutional student aid they provide. As the nation emerges from the pandemic, these investments and improvements would help secure our nation’s health, security, and prosperity for decades to come.