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Alexander: Restoring Year-Round Pell Will Be Biggest News in Higher Education So Far This Year

Says an estimated one million students will take the opportunity to finish college faster and at less cost

WASHINGTON, June 7 – Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today that restoring year-round Pell grants in the appropriations process “would be the most important news in higher education so far this year.” In the FAST Act introduced last year, Alexander and Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) proposed allowing students to use Pell grants year-round.

Alexander said, at an Appropriations subcommittee markup this morning: “This bill is a good example of the Appropriations committee and our authorizing committee working well together. If passed, this will be the most important news in higher education out of the Congress so far this year. An estimated one million students will take the opportunity to graduate sooner and with less debt,” said Alexander.

Alexander noted that the Education Department has also announced it will implement another provision of the bipartisan FAST Act, which is to allow families to use information from the tax return they filed last year when filling out the FAFSA student aid application. “I am now hopeful that when we get to the end of the year we will have simplified the dreaded student aid form and reinstituted the year-round Pell grant—two of the major recommendations of the bipartisan FAST Act.”

Restoring year-round Pell grant availability is a key provision included in the FAST Act, legislation sponsored by Senator Alexander and a bipartisan group of senators to enable students to use Pell grants in a manner that works for them. The bill would restore year-round Pell grant availability and provide flexibility so students can study at their own pace. These provisions would enable students to complete college sooner.

You can download the full recording of Senator Alexander’s remarks from the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies markup here.


For access to this release and Chairman Alexander’s other statements, click here.