U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence Introduces Pell To Grad Act

Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence has taken an important step to improve the lives of Michigan college students. Lawrence, along with Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Roe Khanna (D-CA), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) introduced the Pell To Grad Act. The Pell To Grad Act will allow more finances to be disbursed by increasing lifetime Pell Grant eligibility, and by expanding Pell Grant eligibility to graduate programs.

“Every student deserves an opportunity to further their education, and too many Michigan students are burdened with prohibitive debt,” said Rep. Lawrence, who represents Michigan’s 14th congressional district. “In fact, the average debt load for Michigan public university graduates rose by more than $10,000 between 2007-2008 and 2017-2018. Even after adjusting for inflation, it is a 24% increase. The historic rise in student debt has hindered bright, young graduates from starting businesses, purchasing homes, investing, and starting families. This legislation would help reduce that burden and remove barriers encountered by many Americans in their pursuit of post-graduate opportunities.”

“NEA is proud to support Rep. Lawrence’s Pell to Grad Act,” said Marc Egan, National Education Association, Director of Government Relations. “A majority of Pell Grant recipients are our most vulnerable students, including students of color. Often times, completing their undergraduate or graduate degree within 4-5 years is not always the reality. By extending the lifetime eligibility from 12 to 16 semesters, students would be provided proper access toward degree completion and achieving their educational goals.”

Backed by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association (NEA), the Pell to Grad Act will:

  • Extend students’ lifetime Pell Grant eligibility to 16 semesters from the current 12 semesters.
  • Allow students who have 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.

The Federal Pell Grant Program administers grants to low-income undergraduates and select post-baccalaureate pupils. The Pell Grant was introduced through the Higher Education Act of 1965.

For more information regarding Pell Grants, CLICK HERE.

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