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More money for low-income students?

Since her first semester at the University of Hawai‘i, Heide Murakami has used money from several sources to pay for college.

Most helpful in that effort, the junior chemistry major said, has been the Pell Grant she’s received from the federal government.

“It pays for quite a bit in college,” she said. “I’ve gotten a Pell Grant for three years so far, and each time, I’ve received $5,200 to $5,400. That’s roughly a little over half of tuition (at UH).”

Murakami is one of many low-income students at UH this semester who may get additional help paying for their degree thanks to a bill introduced in congress last week.

The bill, introduced by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and other members of Congress, would restore year-round Pell Grant funding, an option created in 2008 and eliminated in 2011.

It would also make the spending on the Pell automatic, similar to existing programs like Social Security.

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