U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Join Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Double Pell Grant Amounts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) joined their colleagues Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to introduce the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act of 2024, legislation that would nearly double the Pell Grant maximum award. During the 1975-76 school year, the Pell Grant was enough to cover three-fourths of the average cost of attendance at a four-year public college. Today, a Pell Grant covers less than 30% of tuition, fees, and living expenses. The Pell Grant program is the cornerstone of federal financial aid for higher education, serving over 6 million undergraduate students. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) led the effort in the House of Representatives.

“The Pell Grant has long been an incredible resource for students and it’s important we ensure future generations can continue to benefit from the program,” said Klobuchar. “This legislation will expand the Pell Grant, double the maximum award, and protect its true value from eroding over time to make college more affordable for students from all walks of life.”

“The federal Pell Grant has enabled generations of Americans to pursue a college degree. But the Pell Grant’s purchasing power has not kept up with rising tuition costs, leaving the high price of a college education out of reach for many Americans,” said Senator Smith.“I am proud to be a part of this legislation that will revitalize the Pell Grant and help make higher education more affordable for Americans.”

Senator Smith has long been an advocate for improving resources so more students have access to institutions of higher education. In December of 2023, she sent a letter urging the Department of Education to provide clear guidance and communication to students, families, educators, and schools leading up to and after the release of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The redesigned FAFSA would help 1.5 million more students access the maximum Pell Grant award, which is $7,395 for the 2024-25 award year.

The bill is cosponsored by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).  

In addition to Representatives Scott and Pocan, the bill is cosponsored in the House by Representatives Cori Bush (D-MO), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), John Garamendi (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Nikema Williams (D-GA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Dan Goldman (D-NY), Alma Adams (D-NC), Andre Carson (D-IN), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Seth Magaziner (D-RI), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

The full text of the bill is available here.