Reps. Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) have introduced the Pell to Grad Act. The Pell to Grad Act will increase lifetime Pell Grant eligibility and expand Pell Grant eligibility to graduate programs.
Nearly 60% of Black college students and nearly half of Native American and Latinx students receive a Pell Grant.
“For many students, completing college in the traditional 12 semesters is not a reality,” said Rep. Stevens. “Expanding Pell eligibility by four semesters means that the students who need it most have another chance to complete their degrees. We also know that advanced degrees are key to filling the jobs of the future. I hear from business owners across SE Michigan that they are eager to hire and have high-wage jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector just waiting to be filled. This bill will help students get the degrees they need to succeed and become a part of America’s next generation of workers and thinkers, ready to meet the demand of the future.”
“Pell Grants have given millions the opportunity to receive a higher education, including myself. But Pell falls short by only funding undergraduate students and giving them a strict timeline to complete their education. In today’s job market, a master’s degree is necessary to compete for many entry level jobs, creating another barrier for low-income students and graduates,” said Rep. Gomez. “Our legislation allows students to use Pell Grants for post-grad education and extends the coverage period for from 12 to 16 semesters, enabling students to complete their education on a timeline that works for them.”
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.