Legislative Tracker: Pell Grants

Legislative Tracker Logo On this page, you'll find proposals that include recommendations for expanding or altering the Federal Pell Grant Program.

For Pell Grant proposals from the previous session of Congress, visit the Legislative Tracker Archive: Pell Grants

 

*NEW* Aim Higher Act
HR 6543 Sponsor:
Rep. Scott (D-VA)
Co-Sponsors:
57 (0 R; 57 D)
Introduced:
7/26/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Aim Higher Act is a comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill with notable changes to the federal student aid programs. 
       
Jobs for Justice Act 
HR 5785 Sponsor:
Rep. Richmond (D-LA)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
5/11/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This comprehensive bill would make several changes to several federal student aid programs. First, the bill would allow Early College Pell Grants to be awarded to students enrolled in postsecondary courses offered in high schools in an amount up to the cost of four full-time postsecondary semesters. This early award would count toward the maximum period for which a student may receive Federal Pell Grants. The bill would also make Federal Pell Grants mandatory funding, setting the maximum Pell Grant award at $6,420 for award year 2020 and restoring the annual inflation-adjustment on the maximum award moving forward. In addition, the legislation would reinstate Pell eligibility for incarcerated individuals. The bill would also make adjustments to the Parent PLUS program, including reducing interest rates, eliminating origination fees, adding upfront counseling requirements, and the inclusion of Parent PLUS in income-contingent and income-based repayment plans. Further, the bill would create a federal partnership grant with states and Indian tribes to waive tuition and fees for two years at eligible community colleges, as well as grant programs to waive or significantly reduce tuition and fees for eligible students at 4-year HBCUs and MSIs. This act would create a grant program to support employers hiring recent college graduates, and to compensate recent college graduates in taking additional STEM courses. The bill would also extend PSLF to environmental health workers.
       
AID Act 
HR 5550 Sponsor:
Rep. DeFazio (D-OR)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
4/18/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the Achieving Independence through Degrees (AID) Act, makes a number of changes to the federal student aid programs. The bill increases the Pell Grant maximum award to $9,970 and indexes the maximum award to inflation for subsequent award years. In addition, the bill expands Pell Grant eligibility to certain short-term programs and increases the semester eligibility limit to 15 semesters from 12. The bill would require annual loan counseling and uses the counseling language in the PROSPER Act; however, this bill would not require annual counseling for Pell Grant recipients. The bill eliminates the drug conviction provision for student eligibility and requires a financial aid shopping sheet as a nationwide standardized student aid award letter. Finally, the bill would allow certain students to qualify for SNAP based on EFC or certain dependency status questions. 
       
PROSPER Act
HR 4508 Sponsor:
Rep. Foxx (R-NC) 
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
12/1/2017 
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act is a comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill with notable changes to the federal student aid programs. 
Status: 12/13/2017: Passed House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce
 
Pell for Performance Act
HR 4414 Sponsor:
Rep. Rooney (R-FL)
Co-Sponsors:
3 (3 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
11/15/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: Under this bill, Pell Grant recipients who do not complete their program within the maximum timeframe would be required to repay the Pell Grant dollars received in the form of an unsubsidized loan with interest applied retroactively to the date of first disbursement. An individual who defaults on a Pell Grant converted to a loan would lose Pell Grant eligibility. Pell Grant recipients who enroll in another institution less than a year later or who face undue hardship, which includes active duty military service, the death of a relative, personal injury, or "other special circumstances as determined by the institution," would be exempted from this provision.  
       
Pell Grant Modernization Act 
HR 4162 Sponsor:
Rep. Grothman (R-WI)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (1 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
10/27/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would lower the semester limit for Pell Grant eligibility from 12 semesters to 10 semesters. Under the bill, an eligible program would require an academic year of a minimum of 30 weeks of instruction time for credit hour programs and a minimum of 26 weeks for clock hour programs. In addition, the bill would increase the credit or clock hours required in the definition of full-time, 3/4 time, half-time, and less than half-time based on the change to the definition of an academic year. 
       
Expanding America’s Workforce Act 
HR 4078 Sponsor:
Rep. Hunter (R-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
3 (2 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
10/19/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would expand Pell Grant eligibility to short-term programs of eight to 12 weeks. A student is eligible for a short-term Pell Grant if the student has not obtained a baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate degree within the last 10 years, has not attended an eligible institution within the last five years, and is determined to be unemployed or underemployed by the institution. The maximum short-term Pell Grant award would be 50 percent of the maximum Pell Grant award. The bill also encourages the development of articulation agreements to allow students to earn academic credit for apprenticeship programs and addresses issues surrounding transfer of credit by mandating that identical academic programs of the same level, if approved by the same accreditor, shall be automatically transferable between institutions unless an institution requests an additional assessment to prove competency.
       
Pathways Out of Poverty Act 
HR 4074 Sponsor:
Rep. Lee (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
24 (0 R; 24 D)
Introduced:
10/16/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, designed to "strengthen and expand proven anti-poverty programs and initiatives," includes the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act, which would make a number of improvements to the Federal Pell Grant Program, many of which are long-time NASFAA recommendations. Among the funding changes, the bill would re-instate the annual inflation increase to the maximum award and make Pell funding fully “mandatory,” meaning it wouldn't be subject to year-to-year appropriations. In terms of eligibility, the bill would allow incarcerated individuals, undocumented students, students with drug-related offenses, and students enrolled in short-term job training programs to receive Pell Grant. 
       
PROPEL Act
HR 3831 Sponsor:
Rep. Taylor (R-VA)
Co-Sponsors:
2 (0 R; 2 D)
Introduced:
9/26/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the Professional Pell Education Learning (PROPEL) Act, would expand institutional eligibility for Pell Grants to nontraditional institutions authorized to receive GI Bill benefits, such as short-term vocational or technical training, apprenticeships, or other on-job training. Eligible programs must be less than 600 clock hours, 16 semester hours, or 24 quarter hours of instruction and offered in a period of less than 15 weeks. 
       
Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act
S. 1136 Sponsor:
Sen. Hirono (D-HI)
Co-Sponsors:
9 (0 R; 9 D)
Introduced:
5/16/2017
HR 2451 Sponsor:
Rep. Davis (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
76 (0 R; 76 D)
Introduced:
5/16/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would make a number of improvements to the Federal Pell Grant Program, many of which are long-time NASFAA recommendations. Among the funding changes, the bill would re-instate the annual inflation increase to the maximum award and make Pell funding fully “mandatory,” meaning it wouldn't be subject to year-to-year appropriations. In terms of eligibility, the bill would allow incarcerated individuals, undocumented students, students with drug-related offenses, and students enrolled in short-term job training programs to receive Pell Grant. 
 
Pell Grant Restoration Act
S. 1135 Sponsor:
Sen. Warren (D-MA)
Co-Sponsors:
5 (0 R; 5 D)
Introduced:
5/16/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The bill would provide students who have attended a fraudulent institution to reset their Pell Grant lifetime eligibility under certain circumstances. Under this measure, Pell Grant eligibility would be restored for students who have had their student loans discharged through compromise and settlement authority, defenses to repayment, or statutory discharges or for students who would qualify under these provisions if they had taken out a federal student loan.
 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017
HR 244 Sponsor:
Rep. Cook (R-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
28 (19 R; 9 D)
Introduced:
5/3/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the omnibus spending bill for federal fiscal year 2017, includes the restoration of the “year-round Pell Grant” and a cut to the Pell Grant program surplus. In addition, the spending bill provides level funding for the Federal Work Study (FWS) and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) programs. 
Status: 5/5/2017: Signed into Law by President Trump
       
Middle Class CHANCE Act
S. 996 Sponsor:
Sen. Heinrich (D-NM)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
5/1/2017
HR 2260 Sponsor:
Rep. Carbajal (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
13 (0 R; 13 D)
Introduced:
5/1/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the Middle Class Creating Higher Education Affordability Necessary to Compete Economically (CHANCE) Act, would raise the maximum Pell Grant award to $9,650 and continue to index the maximum award to inflation. In addition, this measure would restore the year-round Pell Grant (permitting access to a second scheduled Pell Grant award) to both part-time and full-time students. Under this legislation, a student may only receive up to 150% of the annual maximum award, the additional Pell Grant counts toward the student's lifetime eligibility, and institutions determine the assignment of crossover periods. Finally, the bill raises Pell Grant lifetime eligibility to 15 semesters from 12. 
 
Year-Round Pell Grant Restoration Act
S. 900 Sponsor:
Sen. Hirono (D-HI)
Co-Sponsors:
9 (0 R; 9 D)
Introduced:
4/7/2017
HR 2084 Sponsor:
Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
35 (0 R; 35 D)
Introduced:
4/8/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would reinstate year-round Pell by allowing continuously enrolled students to receive more than one scheduled award in an award year. While still maintaining the 12-semester or equivalent limit, the bill would allow students to draw down from a “well” of Pell funds at their own pace.
 
Go to High School, Go to College Act
S. 840 Sponsor:
Sen. Portman (R-OH)
Co-Sponsors:
1 (0 R; 1 D)
Introduced:
4/5/2017
HR 4435 Sponsor:
Rep. Faso (R-NY)
Co-Sponsors:
10 (5 R; 5 D)
Introduced:
11/16/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This piece of legislation would permit early college high school students to receive Pell Grant funds for completing college coursework while in high school, such as through dual enrollment programs. Any Pell Grant received through this expansion would count towards a student's Pell Grant lifetime eligibility limit, though the Secretary of Education may waive this provision on a case-by-case basis "for any student demonstrating evidence of a credible disruption or redirection in course of study necessitating additional time to complete a postsecondary degree or credential." 
 
To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to discontinue certain administrative cost allowances, and for other purposes.
HR 1767 Sponsor:
Rep. Russell (R-OK)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
3/28/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would eliminate the Pell Grant Program administrative cost allowance, funds financial aid offices use for administering the program.
       
Flexible Pell Grant for 21st Century Students Act
HR 1485 Sponsor:
Rep. Stefanik (R-NY)
Co-Sponsors:
37 (24 R; 13 D)
Introduced:
3/9/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This piece of legislation, reintroduced in 2017, was introduced in 2015 as part of a package of bills introduced by House Republicans as the basis for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. This bill would reinstate the year-round Pell Grant award, or "Summer Pell." Under this bill, a student could receive up to 150% of his or her scheduled award during an award year; however, a student must be using the additional scheduled award to "accelerate" his or her program of study. “Accelerate” would mean that the total number of credits (or equivalent) earned during the previous payment periods in the award year plus the credits in which the student enrolls during the additional payment period together must exceed the number of credits in the institution’s definition of academic year for the student’s program of study. 
       
Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act
HR 949 Sponsor:
Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Co-Sponsors:
31 (15 R; 16 D)
Introduced:
2/7/2017
Sponsor:
Sen. Casey (D-PA)
Co-Sponsors:
5 (2 R; 3 D)
Introduced:
3/9/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow students who are less than 24 years old or enrolled at an institution of higher education at the time of a death of a parent or guardian who died in the line of duty as a police officer, firefighter, or other public safety officer to receive the maximum Pell Grant award. 
 
All-Year ACCESS Act
HR 813 Sponsor:
Rep. Sanchez (D-CA)
Co-Sponsors:
85 (0 R; 85 D)
Introduced:
2/1/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: The bill would restore the year-round Pell Grant (permitting access to a second scheduled Pell Grant award) to both part-time and full-time students. Under this legislation, a student may only receive up to 150% of the annual maximum award, the additional Pell Grant counts toward the student's lifetime eligibility, and institutions determine the assignment of crossover periods.
 
Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act
S. 206  Sponsor:
Sen. Kaine (D-VA)
Co-Sponsors:
7 (1 R; 6 D)
Introduced:
1/24/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow Pell Grant funds to be used for short-term job training programs at an institution of higher education. The maximum award for a job training Pell Grant would be 50% of the current maximum award amount and would not be subject to the annual inflation adjustment to the maximum award, meaning in award year 2017-2018, a hypothetical job training Pell Grant would have a maximum award of $2,430.
 
Early Pell Promise Act
HR 413 Sponsor:
Rep. Lawrence (D-MI)
Co-Sponsors:
0 (0 R; 0 D)
Introduced:
1/10/2017
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would create an “Early Federal Pell Grant Commitment Program,” which would be administered by state educational agencies.  The initiative would provide a two-year Pell Grant commitment for use at an institution of higher education to qualifying 8th grade students on the basis of their eligibility for free or reduced lunch. A student would not receive a Pell Grant for the second year of the commitment if the expected family contribution were more than twice the threshold amount for Pell Grant eligibility for that year. Students in the program are automatically eligible for the maximum Pell Grant award for that award year. This legislation is modeled after the Kalamazoo Promise program in Michigan.
 
REAL Act
HR 254 Sponsor:
Rep. Davis (D-IL)
Co-Sponsors:
5 (0 R; 5 D)
Introduced:
1/4/2017
S. 2423 Sponsor:
Sen. Schatz (D-HI)
Co-Sponsors:
15 (0 R; 14 D; 1 I)
Introduced:
2/13/2018
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill, the Restoring Education And Learning Act, would reinstate Federal Pell Grant eligibility for individuals incarcerated in Federal and State penal institutions.

 

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Publication Date: 8/29/2018


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