May 16, 2017

Warren, Hirono, Brown, Murphy Re-Introduce Bill to Restore Pell Eligibility for Students

Fact Sheet (PDF)
Bill Text (PDF) 

Washington, D.C. - Today, United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced the Pell Grant Restoration Act of 2017, joining Congressional Democrats today in introducing policies that will preserve and expand the federal Pell Grant program.

With Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and ITT Technical Institute filing for bankruptcy in recent years amid widespread charges of fraud, this legislation is now more crucial than ever to protect and support our nation's students. While the Higher Education Act provides for the discharge of students' federal loans if they have been defrauded by their colleges, it does not reset the clock on a student's eligibility for Pell Grants, potentially stranding students without enough Pell Grant eligibility to complete a program at another school. The Pell Restoration Act will restore Pell Grant eligibility for students who attended an institution of higher education that defrauded them, restoring their full eligibility and finally making defrauded students whole.  

"When students are cheated by for-profit, predatory colleges, they shouldn't lose any of their eligibility for Pell Grants," Senator Warren said. "This legislation would ensure that students who have been cheated can hit the reset button on their Pell Grant eligibility so that they can have the chance to go back to school."

"In 2015, 1,700 college students in Hawaii found themselves scrambling for answers and alternatives in the aftermath of the shutdown of Corinthian Colleges," said Senator Hirono. "As the U.S. Department of Education continues to help these victims, we need to provide them with another opportunity to use all federal financial aid sources to complete their education. Senator Warren's Pell Grant Restoration Act, would restore Pell Grant eligibility for students whose education was derailed through no fault of their own. I'm proud to support this important legislation, and to include it in the comprehensive Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act, which we introduced earlier this afternoon. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Warren to protect students and ensure they can fulfill their goal of earning a college degree affordably."

"The closure of for-profit colleges creates unfair burdens on students who were simply seeking to obtain a quality education," said Senator Brown. "Students should not have to pay the price for the fraudulent and deceitful practices perpetrated by these schools."

"Corinthian College, Inc., wasted hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars and left thousands of students in debt without any degrees to show for it," said Senator Murphy. While we absolutely need to hold abusive colleges and their executives accountable and create stronger protections to prevent any similar misconduct in the future, restoring access to Pell Grants for wronged students will help ensure that students receive the aid they need to continue their education."

The Pell Grant Restoration Act was first introduced in 2015, and has received support from: AFL-CIO, Air Force Sergeants Association, American Federation of Teachers, Association of the United States Navy, Center for Law and Social Policy, Consumer Action, Consumers Union, The Education Trust, Equal Justice Works, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Association for College Admission Counseling, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Education Association, National Women Veterans, Public Counsel, Service Employees International Union, Student Debt Crisis, The Institute for College Access and Success, United States Public Interest Research Groups, Veterans for Common Sense, Veterans Education Success,, Inc., VetsFirst, Young Invincibles