Sending Office: Honorable Mark DeSaulnier
Sent By:

Help Low Income Students Overcome Unnecessary Financial Barriers

Cosponsor the Pell Grant Flexibility Act


Supported by (22): American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), American Association
of University Women (AAUW), Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Center for Law
and Social Policy (CLASP), Consumer Action, Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD), Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU), Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC),
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), National College Access Network (NCAN), National Education Association (NEA), Service Employees International Union
(SEIU), The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Young Invincibles


Dear Colleague:


For more than 30 years, Pell Grants have greatly improved opportunities for low-income students to attend college. These needs-based grants alleviate some of the worries students have about financing their education and allow them instead to focus on their
academic achievement. In 2015, 8.2 million students received Pell Grants and were better off financially and academically.

Unfortunately, the skyrocketing cost of tuition is not the only financial barrier for students. Costs associated with off-campus housing, textbooks, childcare, and transportation are often insurmountable hurdles to attending college. In fact, research shows
that non-tuition costs made up the majority of the full cost of attending a public 2-year or 4-year college in 2015-16.

To ensure the next generation of American leaders have access to an affordable college education, we must ensure that the federal programs keep pace. Unfortunately, there are disincentives built into the Pell Grant program that must be addressed.

Today, students can use Pell funding for tuition and non-tuition costs that advance a student’s education, like housing, transportation, and textbooks. Unfortunately, students are forced to pay taxes on non-tuition costs while tuition costs are exempt. Given
the diminishing purchasing power of Pell Grants over time, more must be done to ensure that students can stretch every Pell dollar as far as possible, and taxing these awards for non-tuition costs is counterproductive to that goal.

That is why we introduced the bipartisan Pell Grant Flexibility Act. This important legislation would eliminate the tax liability of Pell Grants on goods and services that will further their education. This simple, low-cost solution will
go a long way in reminding America’s students that we are in their corner.

To join as a cosponsor of this bill, please contact Evan Smith in the office of Rep. DeSaulnier at (202) 225-2095 or




Mark DeSaulnier

Member of Congress


Lee Zeldin

Member of Congress


Thomas MacArthur

Member of Congress


Peter King

Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information: Education, Family Issues, Taxes
icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0