October 14, 2019
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Federal Issues

Kilmer introduces measure to help college students by expanding Pell Grant program

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., aims to help low-income students complete their college degrees and avoid student loan debt.

Kilmer and colleague U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., have introduced the Pell Plus Act of 2019. The measure would establish partnerships between colleges and universities to provide a “Pell Grant bonus” to low-income students working to finish their degree. The grants would be awarded to third- and fourth-year students who are on track to graduate on time.

“Pell Grants are particularly important for middle class families, but even with that vital support, students and their families often end up saddled with debt. The Pell Plus program that we’re proposing will help students complete their college degree on-time, provide more financial aid, and lower their debt burden,” Kilmer said in a news release.

The Pell Plus Act has two major components, Kilmer’s office reports. First, third and fourth-year students who are on track to graduate in four years would have the same Pell Grant funding currently available only to those who take six years to complete a degree. Secondly, bonus amounts would be matched dollar-for-dollar by participating colleges and universities.

“The net effect of this proposal would be to triple the amount of Pell Grant assistance during the final two years of study for students who are on track to on-time completion,” Kilmer’s office reports. This could equal a grant of more than $18,000 a year for the nation’s low-income students.

“I couldn't be more pleased with Rep. Kilmer's Pell Plus proposal,” Pacific Lutheran University president Allan Belton said in a news release. “Access for all to a quality undergraduate education is so important -- and supporting those dedicated students working to complete their bachelor's degrees within four years, reducing borrowing, sets them up for a lifetime of success as they prepare to enter the workforce.”

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, to learn more.



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