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 sessions of Congress, visit the Legislative Tracker Archive: Pell Grants


*NEW* H.R.4298 - Pell Grant Restoration Act

Sponsor: Rep. Hayes [D-CT]
Cosponsors: 12 (12D; 0R)
Introduced: 09/12/2019
Sponsor: Sen. Warren [D-MA] 
Cosponsors: 3 (3D; 0R)
Introduced: 09/18/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The Pell Grant Restoration Act would restore Pell Grant eligibility for students who attended an institution of higher education that closed due to certain violations. 


*NEW* S.2471 - Degrees Not Debt Act of 2019

Sponsor: Sen. Heinrich [D-NM]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 09/12/2019
NASFAA Summary & Analysis: The Degrees Not Debt Act would increase the maximum amount of the Federal Pell Grant, increase the income threshold for auto-zero EFC calculations as well as creates a simplified FAFSA application for low-income families. 

S.2123 - Break the Higher Education Monopoly Act of 2019

Sponsor: Sen. Hawley [R-MO]
Cosponsors: (0)
Introduced: 07/16/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would expand the allowable use of the Federal Pell Grant program by allowing it to be used by eligible students pursuing vocational programs, like job-training and certification programs.


H.R.4073 - Expanding Educational Opportunities for Justice-Impacted Communities Act

Sponsor: Rep. Trone [D-MD]
Cosponsors: 5 (3D; 2R) 
Introduced: 07/25/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would repeal the prohibition on incarcerated individuals to receive Pell Grants, as well as repeal legislation that prohibits students who were convicted of drug-related offenses from receiving federal financial aid. The bill would also ensure that credits earned by incarcerated individuals, if transferred to another institution, in an eligible and equivalent program, would not be treated any differently.


H.R.3497 - Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Richmond, Cedric L. [D-LA]
Cosponsors: 5 (3 R; 2 D)
Introduced: 06/26/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would establish a Job Training Federal Pell Grant Program. It would allow Pell Grant funds to be used for short-term job training programs at an institution of higher education.


H.R.3334 - Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH]
Cosponsors: 4 (2 R; 2 D)
Introduced: 06/19/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow students to use Pell grants for graduate studies.


H.R.3101 - Achieving Independence through Degrees (AID) Act

Sponsor: Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR]
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 06/05/2019
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 $10,230 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 would increase funds for the campus-based programs and would revise their allocation formulas. The allocation formula for federal work-study funds would consider the amount of Pell eligible students at an institution, as well as institutional improvement. 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.


H.R.2168 - Restoring Education And Learning (REAL) Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Davis (D-IL)
Cosponsors: 5 (2 R; 3 D)
Introduced: 04/09/2019
Sponsor: Sen. Schatz (D-HI)
Cosponsors: 2 (1 R; 1 D)
Introduced: 04/09/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would restore Pell Grant eligibility to incarcerated students.


H.R.2161 - Pell Flexibility Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Banks, Jim (R-IN)
Cosponsors: 8 (8 R; 0 D)
Introduced: 04/09/2019
S. 1072
Sponsor: Sen. Braun, Mike (R-IN)
Cosponsors: 0
Introduced: 04/09/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: These companion bills are aimed at allowing the Pell Grant to be used by students enrolled in short-term skill-based programs on a pilot program basis.


S.839 - JOBS Act of 2019

Sponsor: Sen. Kaine (D-VA)
Co-Sponsors: 10 (0 R; 10 D)
Introduced: 03/14/2019
NASFAA Analysis & Coverage: This bill would allow Pell Grant funds to be used for short-term job training programs.

Return to Legislative Tracker Overview

Publication Date: 10/15/2019

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