(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ranking Member of the LHHS Subcommittee, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK-04), Ranking Member of the House LHHS Subcommittee, introduced a resolution celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Pell Grant program, which was established on June 23, 1972. Pell Grants are the cornerstone of federal financial aid—and today, they help about 40% of all undergraduates pursue a higher education.
“For fifty years, Pell Grants have been a lifeline for students and families across the country—helping tens of millions of students and families like mine afford college and complete degrees,” said Senator Murray. “I’m so proud to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Pell Grants program, and I’m going to keep fighting for Pell Grants and working to make them go even further for students with the tightest budgets.”
“As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I know how important Pell Grants are for students to realize their goal of a higher education. Pell Grants provide critical support to the students who need it most,” said Senator Blunt. “I’m proud of the bipartisan work we’ve been able to do in Congress to strengthen the Pell Grant program, like raising the maximum award amount and reinstating year-round Pell. I’m glad to join Senator Murray and our House colleagues in introducing this resolution to celebrate 50 years of the Federal Pell Grant program.”
“The Pell Grant is the most effective college assistance program in our government,” said Chair DeLauro. “Today, we celebrate the success of the Pell Grant. For 50 years, it has supported the dreams and ambitions of millions of American students, ensuring they have the necessary resources to get a good education and eventually, a great career. I promise to continue my strong support for this program, and to fight to strengthen it for generations to come.”
“As a first generation college graduate, I know firsthand how important it is to provide opportunities for those to pursue higher education,” said Congressman Cole. “For 50 years, the Pell Grant program has done just that. On this milestone anniversary, we remember the doors Pell Grants have opened for countless Americans and reaffirm our commitment to work across the aisle and ensure they continue to be funded.”
In the fifty years since they were established, Pell Grants have helped over 80 million students afford college. Today, Pell Grants help nearly 7 million students with the fewest resources pursue higher education. The vast majority of Pell Grant recipients come from families making $40,000 a year or less, and the grants provide critical support for students who have too long faced barriers in accessing college—including Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native students, first-generation students, veteran students, and students with children.
The resolution celebrates the 50-year anniversary since the Pell Grant program was established on June 23, 1972, in the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and supports designating June 23 as “National Pell Grant Day.”
Throughout her time in Congress, Senator Murray has championed the Pell Grant program and fought to make college more affordable and ease the student debt burden saddling a generation of students. In the last government funding bill, Senator Murray helped secure a $400 increase to the maximum Pell Grant award—the largest increase in more than a decade. Senator Murray has also introduced legislation to double the Pell Grant, index the award to inflation, and protect it for years to come.
Full text of the resolution is available here.