Sending Office: Honorable Brenda L. Lawrence
Become an Original Cosponsor of the Pell to Grad Act
Deadline: COB Wednesday, March 19, 2020
Please join me in becoming an original cosponsor of the
Pell to Grad Act, legislation which would increase opportunities for financial assistance to hardworking students to offset rising college costs and promote continued education. Endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American
Federation of Teachers (AFT), this bill would ensure that financial assistance remains available to those students who go on to pursue a graduate degree.
The Pell to Grad Act would (1) extend students’ lifetime Pell Grant eligibility to 16 semesters from the current 12 semesters and (2) allow students who received a Pell Grant award during their undergraduate education to utilize their
remaining Pell eligibility towards their first graduate degree. Under current law, students’ eligibility for Pell Grants is limited to 12 semesters, and students are prohibited from using Pell Grants for graduate or professional degrees. This legislation
would extend students’ lifetime Pell Grant eligibility to 16 semesters and allow students who received a Pell Grant award during their undergraduate education to utilize their remaining Pell eligibility for their graduate degrees.
The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Grant amounts are dependent on the student’s expected family contribution, the cost
of attendance determined by the institution, the student’s enrollment status, and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.
Unlike many student loan programs, Pell Grants are direct awards and do not need to be repaid. Prior to the FY 2012 appropriations cycle, the limit on lifetime Pell eligibility was 18 semesters; it was reduced to save money and to encourage students to complete
college more quickly, but this change has not proven to be effective. When looking to complete an undergraduate degree, many students exhaust their Pell Grant eligibility before they can complete their program, often because their credits did not transfer,
they had to care for family members, or even because they attended fraudulent institutions.
Additionally, expanding access to Pell Grant awards to graduate school would increase higher education opportunities by providing proper aid to those students working to support themselves and their family.
Please join me in prioritizing higher education and ensuring that every student has the proper resources and financial assistance to pursue their dreams. To cosponsor this bill, please contact Ryan Casman in my office at Ryan.Casman@mail.house.gov or at
Brenda L. Lawrence
Member of Congress
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