News Releases

Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act permanently indexes Pell Grants to inflation, increasing their purchasing power

Senator Murray: “Students should never be forced to give up their higher education dreams because they can’t afford it—and this legislation will take a significant step in helping to make sure college is within reach for more students” 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Chair of the House Education & Labor Committee, reintroduced the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act, legislation that would double the Pell Grant award, index the award to inflation, and make other changes to expand the award for working students and families. The bill also makes the Pell Grant funding fully mandatory to protect it from funding shortfalls, expands the program to include DREAMers, and restores lifetime eligibility for the program to 18 semesters, among other changes that will benefit students. 

“It’s thanks to Pell grants that I was able to graduate and get a great education from Washington State University—but today’s students are being asked to pay more for college with less financial support. Students should never be forced to give up their higher education dreams because they can’t afford it—and this legislation will take a significant step in helping to make sure college is within reach for more students,” Senator Murray said. “I’m proud to introduce the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act alongside my colleagues, and I’ll be working hard to get this across the finish line and ensure that every student—no matter how much money their family makes—has the opportunity to succeed.”

Senators Murray and Hirono, along with Representative Scott and former Representative Susan Davis, introduced a similar version of this legislation during the 115th Congress. Last year, several provisions from that bill were included in the year-end spending package, which restored Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals, students who have been defrauded, and students with drug-related offenses; raised the “auto-zero” threshold for the program; and increased the income protection allowance—improving the program for students. 

The following groups have endorsed the legislation: American Association of University Professors (AAUP), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), APIA Scholars, National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), National Education Association (NEA), State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), Student Debt Crisis, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Association of Young Americans (AYA), The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), Third Way, Young Invincibles, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), American Council on Education (ACE), JFF, PIRG, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, National College Attainment Network (NCAN), Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), The Education Trust, and UnidosUS.

The Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act bill text is available here.

A bill summary is available here.

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