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Kuster, Burchett Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation To Expand Pell Grants for Graduate Education

Kuster, Burchett Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation To Expand Pell Grants for Graduate Education 

**Kuster introduced similar legislation in the 117th and 116th Congresses**

Washington, D.C. — Today, on the 51st anniversary of the Pell Grant, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Tim Burchett (TN-02) reintroduced the bipartisan Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act to allow Pell Grant recipients to use their remaining Pell eligibility towards their first graduate degree. Currently, graduate students have limited options beyond loans to finance higher education.

Pell Grants are only awarded to students that demonstrate an exceptional financial need, ensuring that this federal funding goes to the students who need it most to complete their education. Eligible students can receive a Pell Grant for up to 12 semesters, but current federal law prohibits students to an advanced degree.

“High costs are a deterrent for many qualified students from furthering their education and pursuing careers that require an advanced degree,” said Rep. Kuster. “Graduate students are already dealing with huge amounts of debt — we need to lessen that burden wherever we can, especially for low-income students. The Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act will help level the playing field and equip our future workforce with the skills and knowledge to remain competitive — a win-win for students and the economy.” 

"We should always look for more ways to encourage folks to further their education whenever it makes sense," said Rep. Burchett. "It seems logical to let Pell Grant recipients continue to use the grant for graduate school if they don't use it all during undergrad so they can pursue the career they want.”

“U.S. graduate education is an integral part of the American system of higher education. The nation’s graduate schools attract top domestic and international students by creating dynamic programs that foster scholarship, research, and scientific discovery. The Council of Graduate Schools happily endorses and appreciates the reintroduction of the Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act sponsored by Representatives Ann Kuster and Tim Burchett. Since its establishment, the Pell Grant program has been instrumental in helping students from low-income backgrounds fund their undergraduate education, and this act would allow them to pursue their goals of graduate education,” said Suzanne T. Ortega, President of the Council of Graduate Schools. “Expanding Pell to graduate education will improve access and diversity in graduate education and will be crucial to filling many in-demand jobs in the national workforce.” 

“For more than fifty years, Pell Grants have been an important vehicle for ensuring access to college for low-income students,” said Dr. Deborah Scire, President of New Hampshire College and University Council.  “Congresswoman Kuster’s plan to expand Pell to include graduate students honors that tradition of creating opportunity and, at the same time, addresses our nation’s rapidly evolving workforce needs.” 

Some of the nation’s fastest-growing professions require graduate degrees. However, many graduate students have few options outside of loans as a means of financing their education. The Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act will continue Pell Grant’s initial purpose of providing access to higher education for low-income individuals while modernizing it to meet the demands of the current workforce.