WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Thursday joined U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) to introduce the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act of 2024, bicameral legislation that would nearly double the Pell Grant maximum award, index the maximum award for inflation, and make other changes to expand the award for working students and families. The Pell Grant program is the cornerstone of federal financial aid for postsecondary education, serving over 6 million undergraduate students.

“Pell Grants help millions of students afford higher education, but as the cost of college has skyrocketed since the Pell Grant was established in 1973, the maximum award hasn’t come close to keeping up. In fact, the Pell Grant once covered most of the cost of attending a public or community college, but today it covers less than a quarter of those costs. This legislation would give the program a much-needed boost and help ensure that all students can afford college if that's the pathway that best suits their academic and career goals,” said Murphy.

“Pell Grants make it possible for every student, regardless of their socioeconomic status, to pursue higher education and earn a quality degree without being burdened by excessive debt. This critical legislation restores the purchasing power of the Pell Grant and ensures that this instrumental tool continues to make college accessible for all. With the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act, we can be sure that more students are supported in their academic endeavors and are provided with the opportunity to succeed,” said Blumenthal.

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also cosponsored the legislation.

U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D- Northern Mariana Islands), Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Seth Magaziner (D-R.I.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also cosponsored the legislation.

The Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act is endorsed by American Association of Community Colleges (AACC); Association of Community College Trustees (AACT); American Association for State College and Universities (AASCU); Association of American Universities (AAU); American Association of University Professors (AAUP); American Association of University Women (AAUW); American Council on Education (ACE); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC); Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars (APIA Scholars); Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU); Arizona Students’ Association; Associated Students of the University of California: Berkeley; Center for American Progress (CAP); Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); Denver Scholarship Foundation; The Education Trust (Ed Trust); Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP); Jobs for the Future (JFF); Menlo College; National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU); National College Attainment Network (NCAN); National Education Association (NEA); New American Higher Education Policy Program; National Skills Coalition (NSC); Partnership for the Future; Phi Beta Kappa; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Southern California College Attainment Network; State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO); The Hope Center at Temple University; Third Way; The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS); Today’s Students Coalition (formerly HLA); uAspire; United Negro College Fund (UNCF); UNITE-LA; and Young Invincibles.

In May, Murphy and Blumenthal called on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) to strengthen the Pell Grant program in Fiscal Year 2025 by providing a discretionary increase towards the award.

The text of the legislation can be found HERE. A fact sheet is also available HERE.