June 16, 2021

Warren Joins Hirono, Murray, Pocan, Scott in Introducing a Bill to Double Pell Grant, Make College More Affordable

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

Bill Text (PDF) 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), to reintroduce 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.

In the U.S. Senate, the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act is also cosponsored by Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.). 

In the U.S. House of Representatives, this legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Al Lawson (D-Fla.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), Joseph Morelle (D-N.Y.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Marie Newman (D-Ill.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Deborah Ross (D-N.C.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-Northern Mariana Islands), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Paul D. Tonko (D-N.Y.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).

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, UnidosUS, and the University of California System.

This bill is part of Senator Warren’s ongoing efforts to support students in higher education:

  • In June 2021, Senators Warren, Padilla, along with Representative Norma Torres (D-Calif.), introduced the Basic Assistance for Students in College (BASIC) Act, bicameral legislation which would invest $1 billion to help meet students’ basic needs, including food, housing, and transportation.
  • In May 2021, Senators Warren, Tina Smith, Van Hollen, and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona requesting updates on the Education Department's (ED) plans to conduct oversight of for-profit colleges and institutions of higher education that pose risks to students during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • That same month, Senators Warren, Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Padilla, Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), and Representatives Hayes, Lawson, and Torres introduced the Student Food Security Act of 2021, bicameral legislation to address food insecurity on college campuses by enabling more low-income college students to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and pushing the federal government, states, and colleges and universities to take a more proactive role in addressing student food insecurity.
  • Senators Warren, Tina Smith, Brown, and Markey sent a letter to Secretary of Education Cardona requesting information about the steps ED and the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) are taking to help transition millions of federal student loan borrowers back into repayment ahead of the scheduled end for paused student loan payments and interest in September.
  • In April 2021, Senators Warren and Reverend Warnock led a group of Senate colleagues in a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging ED to take swift action to automatically remove all federally-held student loan borrowers from default.
  • Senator Warren has also been continuing her calls for President Biden to use his existing authority to cancel $50,000 in student debt and highlighted data that she obtained from ED revealing the benefit of student debt cancellation

 ###