On this page, you'll find proposals that aim to improve affordability in innovative ways for students outside of grant or campus-based aid funding proposals.
Sponsor: Baldwin [Sen.-D-WI] & Leger Fernandez [Rep.-D-NM]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would establish federal-state partnerships to provide two years of tuition-free access to community or technical college programs. It would also waive two years of tuition and fees at tribal colleges and universities for eligible students, as well as establish a new program that would cover a portion of tuition and fees for the first two years at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) for low income students. The bill would also establish a student success fund that would provide grants to eligible entities aimed at helping improve things such as enrollment, retention, and transfer and completion rates, particularly for underserved students.
Sponsor: Sen. Whitehouse [D-RI]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill aims to better coordinate Pell Grants with the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). It would repeal the taxation of federal Pell Grants and fully exclude Pell Grants from being counted as taxable income.
Sponsor: Rep. Joyce [R-OH]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would amend the HEA and establish the Pell Plus program through which an eligible student would be awarded an additional Federal Pell Grant (i.e. Federal Pell Plus Grant) that was equal to their original Pell Grant amount. If a student’s combined Pell Grant and Pell Plus Grant exceed the institution’s cost of attendance (COA), ED may reduce the Federal Pell Plus grant so that the student’s aid is not exceeding the COA. The bill outlines the requirements a student must meet to be considered eligible for the Federal Pell Plus Grant, as well as requirements for institutions to be considered a Pell Plus institution. A student is eligible to receive the Pell Plus Grant if they are enrolled in their first undergraduate course of study at a Pell Plus institution, while maintaining progress towards completion in no more than four academic years and has completed at least four semesters of study.
Sponsor: Pocan [Rep.-D-WI] & Schatz [Sen.-D-HI]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would guarantee students a debt-free education at in-state public institutions by establishing a federal-state partnership that gives states 1 to 1 matching grants to supplement state higher education appropriations. Grants will be made in the amount of a State's net State operating support. States will be required to use 95% of grant funds to meet unmet student financial need for in-state students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree, with funds disbursed according to need. The remaining 5% of grant funds may be used for hiring faculty, increasing physical capacity through renovations, student support services, and other activities that increase enrollment and support of low-income underserved students. In order to remain eligible, states must maintain net State operating support for a fiscal year at a level no less than the average of net State operating support over the 3 consecutive years prior to the current fiscal year. The bill also expands Pell eligibility to DREAMER students.
Sponsor: Sanders [Sen. I-VT] & Jayapal [Rep. D-WA]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would eliminate tuition and fees at public four-year institutions for students in single households earning $125,000 a year or less, and married households earning $250,000 a year or less. It would also eliminate tuition and fees at community colleges for all students. The bill would double the maximum Pell Grant to $14,790, expand eligibility to DREAMER students, and allow Pell to cover non-tuition expenses. In addition, the bill would double the federal investment in Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI’s) and GEAR UP, and triple TRIO funding. For states that agree to eliminate tuition and fees at public institutions, federal-state partnership grants will cover a share of the costs. The bill also establishes grant funds for MSI’s to eliminate tuition and fees, as well as additional grant funds for state’s to scale their evidence-based practices and strategies for improving student outcomes and addressing equity gaps.
Sponsor: Sen. Booker [D-NJ]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would increase the maximum TEACH Grant award to $8,000 per year and amend the program to cover the full cost of attendance, not just tuition, fees, and institutionally-owned housing. The bill would also end annual cuts to the program and also require that ED send TEACH Grant recipients an electronic certification once they have completed their service.
Sponsor: Rep. Gomez [D-CA]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and expand eligibility to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to students enrolled in higher education institutions. This bill would eliminate work-for-food barriers and would extend regulations to the SNAP program that were implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsor: Smith [D-WA]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would create tuition-free community and technical colleges in states that submit an application to ED, and would provide funding and support services. The support services would help students enroll in and successfully complete their programs by expanding funding for things such as temporary assistance for needy families, supplemental nutrition assistance, and housing assistance. States would need to have a plan for interagency data collection between various stakeholders to measure the outcomes and success of the programs. No later than 1 year after grants have been provided to the states, states would need to submit a report to ED describing how funds were used, graduation rates, and other information requested by ED.
Sponsor: Wilson [Rep.-D-FL]
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: This bill would amend the HEA and outlines various comprehensive reforms to the student loan system. The bill would double the Pell Grant award amount over a five year period. The bill puts into place a measure that would provide pell grants through mandatory funding and also outlines federal aid eligibility for DREAMER students. Additionally, it would reform the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by reducing the time to forgiveness. The bill also calls for the reduction of interest rates, and while it would still tie interest rates for all new federal student loans 10-year Treasury note, it would also create a cap ensuring that no new loan will be subject to an interest rate greater than 5 percent.
Topics: Pell, PSLF, Loan Reform
Publication Date: 10/19/2023