May 01, 2017

Budget Deal Includes Hirono Proposal to Reinstate Year-Round Pell Grants

The bipartisan deal reached Sunday to fund the federal government through September includes Senator Mazie K. Hirono’s proposal to reinstate Year-Round Pell Grants for college students in Hawaii and across the country. The deal includes provisions from Senator Hirono’s Year-Round Pell Grant Restoration Act that would allow low- and moderate-income students to use Pell Grants for three semesters each academic year, rather than the current law’s limit of two semesters.

“Including my Year-Round Pell Grant proposal in the funding deal will ensure that college students who receive Pell Grants during the fall and spring semesters will not be barred from taking summer classes because of financial hardship,” said Senator Hirono. “Mahalo to Ranking Member Patty Murray for her steadfast commitment to the federal Pell Grant program, and for her strong advocacy to include this proposal within the deal. I appreciate her work on behalf of the more than 8 million students nationwide and 21,000 students in Hawaii who rely on Pell Grants each year.”

“I know firsthand the doors Pell Grants can open, so I was proud to work to protect and expand access to these opportunities for more students,” said Senator Murray. “While President Trump continues proposing massive cuts to higher education and looking out for the big corporations that defraud students and borrowers, I will keep fighting to ensure no students are held back from climbing the ladder of opportunity because they can't afford a college education.”

Earlier this year, Senator Hirono reintroduced her Year-Round Pell Grant Restoration Act with Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) introduced a House version of this bill.

Before Congress cut Year-Round Pell Grants in 2011, over 1 million students across the country, including over 1,600 in Hawaii, used Pell Grants to pay for college for three semesters in an academic year. Research shows that students who take courses continuously over the summer were three times more likely to complete a degree.