News Releases

Murray worked to expand Pell Grants in bipartisan Senate Appropriations bill  

New expansion will benefit nearly 15,000 Washington state students; Pell Grant awards will increase by an average of $1,650 for these students 

Murray’s bipartisan bill passed key subcommittee today, headed to full Committee later this week 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that she had successfully reached agreement to expand Pell Grants to make them accessible year-round, beginning in 2017-18. This change, included by Murray in the Labor, Health and Education appropriations bill, will restore year-round Pell Grants, also referred to as “Summer Pell,” for over one million students across the country and an estimated 15,000 in Washington state. Currently, low-income students who receive Pell Grants generally reach the maximum annual grant amount within two semesters, preventing them from affording summer courses needed to graduate on track or earlier. With this expansion, Pell Grant awards will increase by on average an additional $1,650, helping countless of students afford critically needed courses.

“As someone who was only able to go to college myself because of the federal support that is now called Pell grants, I am very glad that we were able to expand access to the opportunities that these grants offer,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Summer Pell is important for so many students in Washington state and across the country, and I am glad we were finally able to take this important first step toward bringing it back.”

The Labor, Health and Education appropriations bill, which includes Murray’s provisions to increase and expand Pell Grants, passed through the subcommittee today and will next be considered by the full-Appropriations Committee this coming Thursday, June 9. As the lead negotiator for Senate Democrats, Senator Murray has been working with Republican Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and others to help ensure the bill protects and expands critical investments for students, workers, women, families, and the economy. Most recently, Murray worked alongside Blunt to provide $1.1 billion in emergency funding for efforts to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus, which was passed by the Senate on May 9th with a strong bipartisan vote of 68-30.