The Hill: Dem bill would increase Pell Grants

By:  Lydia Wheeler

Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that aims to increase access to affordable post-secondary education for low- to moderate-income students through Pell Grants.

The Middle Class Creating Higher Education Affordability Necessary to Compete Economically, or CHANCE Act, Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) unveiled Wednesday, would increase the individual maximum Pell Grant amount to $9,140 to adjust for inflation, restore year-round awards to give students money for summer courses and allow recipients to use awards for 15 semesters instead of 12.

“Pell Grants are the primary form of financial aid millions of students use to pay for tuition, giving them access to an education that might otherwise be out of reach," Heinrich said in a news release. "As the cost of college has continued to skyrocket, this bill helps address the diminished purchasing power of Pell Grants, and ensures they remain a useful tool for students in New Mexico and across the country well into the future.”

Nearly 9 million students across the country rely on Pell Grants to pay for college, of which more than 23,000 come from Hawaii alone.

"As college tuition increases across the country, students and families are struggling to make ends meet," Hirono said in the release. "Unfortunately, the Pell Grant program has not grown at the same rate as rising college tuition.”