WASHINGTON, D.C., -- Today, U.S. Representatives Davis (D-Calif.) and Scott (D-Va.), and Senators Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Murray (D-Wash.) announced the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act. The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) released the following statement:
"Reforms to the Pell Grant program are long overdue, and the Institute for Higher Education Policy has long called for bold action among policymakers to spearhead such reforms.
"The Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act announced today demonstrates exactly the political bravery needed to strengthen the Pell Grant program, expand access to higher education for more hard-working students, and ultimately help more Americans better their life circumstances.
"A college education remains the surest path to the middle class, but skyrocketing costs and state disinvestment in higher education have made a college education increasingly unaffordable for many low- and middle-income Americans. The Pell Grant has been a cornerstone of access to a college education for over 40 years. Yet the relative impact of this grant has failed to keep pace with today's college costs and the changing needs of today's college students. And a misguided prohibition on access to Pell Grants for incarcerated men and women limits the scope of educational opportunities available to these students and hampers their ability to successfully reenter their communities upon release
"By improving the purchasing power of the Pell Grant, indexing annual increases to inflation and restoring access for incarcerated students, the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act seeks to enact much-needed reforms that can strengthen this grant's role as a cornerstone of college access for our nation's students."
IHEP recently launched #CollegeNotPrison, a social media and public awareness campaign to educate policymakers, campus leaders, and the public about the financial aid barriers justice-involved youth face when pursuing higher education. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.collegenotprison.com.
In March, IHEP released Limited Means, Limited Options, a report detailing how unaffordable college remains for low-income, working-class and middle-class Americans. The report urges federal, state, and institutional policymakers to double down on efforts to address inequities in college affordability for 21st-century students, and includes several key policy recommendations to keep students with limited resources from shouldering the burden of increasing costs.