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The latest news from AICU Mass and its member colleges and universities

From the desk of Rob McCarron

This month, AICU Mass and our member colleges and universities, along with fellow higher education associations from across the country, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Pell Grant program. Since its founding in 1972, the Federal Pell Grant has helped over 80 million students, many of them first-generation, attend the college or university that best meets their individual talents and educational needs.

In recognition of the impact the Pell Grant has had on multiple generations of students, the Biden administration, United State Senate and the United States House of Representatives issued proclamations and resolutions recognizing June 23rd as National Federal Pell Grant Day. In doing so, they played tribute to the lasting legacy of the Pell Grant and its transformational impact on the more than 7 million students annually that are helped by the grant.

Named for former Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell, who was the driving force in the creation of the program, the Pell Grant has long been the cornerstone of the federal financial aid program. However, while the Pell Grant remains the fairest and most efficient way to provide financial assistant to low-income and first-generation students, the program is in need of additional federal support to ensure its meaningful impact on future generations of students.

At its core, the Pell Grant has long provided students with financial assistance to attend the college or university of their choosing, allowing them to attend the institution that fits their current educational needs and future aspirations. It was Senator Pell’s vision that low-income students have the ability to take their federal grant to the institution of their choice, rather than the federal government distributing aid directly to the institutions. Quickly winning over early skeptics, the Pell program was modeled after the successful GI Bill, and designed to open the doors of countless colleges and universities that students may not otherwise have considered. It is to Senator Pell’s credit that these grants are provided directly to students for their use in pursuing a higher education.

During his presidential campaign, President Biden called for a doubling of the maximum Pell Grant award. Earlier this year, he signed into law the largest increase in the Pell Grant in over ten years and again called for the doubling of the maximum Pell grant by 2029. Doing so would be nothing short of transformational for the more than 110,000 Pell Grant recipients annually that attend a college or university in Massachusetts. And doing so would be very much in line with the vision of Senator Pell, who set out on a path 50 years ago to provide educational freedom to our nation’s most deserving students and families. 

AICU Mass Fact of the Month

Member Spotlight

Harvard University:

Harvard in Massachusetts:

Facts & Impact Report

Harvard has released its 2021 edition of Facts & Impact, an annual publication that highlights the University’s contributions and engagement across the Commonwealth. Incorporating content, voices, and data, the report features programs and initiatives that expand access to education and financial aid, advance research and innovation, support local businesses and organizations, and provide direct services and opportunities to thousands of residents across the state.

Read the full report.


  • 10,805 students from Massachusetts at Harvard in the 2020-2021 academic year

  • $19.3M in scholarships awarded to Harvard College students from MA in 2020-2021 academic year

  • $913M in research funding attracted to MA by Harvard in FY21

  • 4,465 patents held by Harvard as of July 2021

  • 383 Innovations reported by Harvard researchers in FY21

  • 5th Harvard is the 5th largest employer of MA residents

  • $1.3B in construction, supplies, and services directed towards MA-based companies and organizations in FY21    

News from Our Members

Presidential appointments:

Amherst College:

Introducing Michael Elliot '92, Amherst's Next President

Dean College:

Dean College Invests In Its Future As It Announces New President and New Position of Chancellor

Emmanuel College:

Emmanuel College Names Mary K. Boyd, Ph.D., as Next President

News from member campuses:

Bay Path University:

Western Mass News:

Local colleges join forces to celebrate Juneteenth

Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology:

Pressley Delivers $300K in Direct Federal Funds for Green Jobs Program at BFIT

Boston College:

From high school to the Heights

Brandeis University:

Pride Reps: Building community while becoming mentors

Clark University:

Clark students get serious about the future of gaming

Montserrat College of Art:

Solar Project Will Power Montserrat College of Art

New England College of Optometry:

NECO celebrates 50 years of commitment to community-based training

Wheaton College:

Wheaton launches new bachelor of science in nursing


Three Decades of Innovation Celebrated at the Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science at WPI

The Latest from Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill

Massachusetts FY23 budget:

A conference committee of House and Senate member is working to resolve differences in the respective FY23 budgets back by each branch. The final budget will include a significant increase in financial aid funding, as the Senate budget contained $175 million for need-based financial aid programs, including MassGrant and Gilbert Grant, while the House budget funded these programs at $156 million. In FY22, these programs were funded at $130.5 million. 


Sports gaming:


A separate conference committee is working to reach agreement on the issue of sports gaming, following approval of a bill in the Senate. One of key issues to be resolved is whether the state will allow betting on college athletic events, with the House and Senate taking different approaches to college sports betting in their respective bills. Several states, including New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut, have reached compromise on the issue of college betting by prohibiting sports gaming on contests that involve teams from that state. A similar compromise is likely to be considered by the conference committee here as well.

Title IX Proposed Rules:


Last week, on the 50th anniversary of the passage in 1972 of Title IX, the Biden administration released a proposed Title IX rule that would overhaul the rules that govern how colleges respond sexual assault cases, including the expansion of protections for LGBTQ students.


AICU Mass is working with our national colleagues to review the 700-page proposed rule and assess its impact on current Title IX policies. There will be a 60-day comment period on the proposed rule and AICU Mass will work with general counsels, Title IX coordinators and other key stakeholders to develop written comments to submit to the Department of Education..


Among many changes, the proposed Title IX rule would:

  • Expand coverage to behavior that occurs in education programs off campus, including out of country.
  • Expand mandatory reporting requirements to all employees at colleges that operate an educational program who have knowledge of an instance of sex discrimination.
  • Create new eligibility for retroactive complaints after a student leaves an educational program due to an instance of discrimination.
  • Requires “prompt time frames” for investigating cases of discrimination.
  • Eliminate cross-examination and live hearing requirement from the rules for campus hearings.
  • Require colleges to allow students who participate in a live hearing to do so remotely if they choose.
  • Allow informal resolution of an incident without the submission of a formal complaint; and
  • Require protections for pregnant students and employees.
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