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New Bills Push for Free College, Doubling of Pell Grant

New Bills Push for Free College, Doubling of Pell Grant


Megan Walter, Policy & Federal Relations Staff
April 26, 2021
President Joe Biden’s focus on college affordability and higher education in general early in his term as a means to help the country recover from the impact of the ongoing pandemic has served as an opportunity for Democrats in Congress to champion tuition-free and debt-free college proposals. Just last week, two proposals surfaced, setting the stage for what could be incorporated in Biden’s upcoming sweeping infrastructure plan.
The College for All Act, a bicameral bill that would make public universities tuition- and fee-free for most students, as well as double the maximum Pell Grant award, was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in early April. This is the fourth time an iteration of this bill has been introduced into Congress and comes as a larger debate regarding the cost of college and student loan debt relief has made its way to the forefront.
The College for All Act is not the only proposal put forward by Democrats this session that seeks to reform the student debt and college affordability landscape. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) last week reintroduced the Debt-Free College Act, a bill that would provide states with a dollar-for-dollar federal match in exchange for the money they use to fund students’ cost of attendance without having to take out loans.
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