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House Approves Bill to Eliminate “Tuition Sensitivity” from the Pell Grant Program

On February 27, the House approved, by voice vote, a bill (H.R. 990) to suspend for one year the “tuition sensitivity” clause from the Pell Grant program. Introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the Pell Grant Equity Act would repeal a provision that prohibits low-income students from receiving maximum Pell Grant awards if they attend low-cost colleges and universities. Students currently are prohibited from receiving Pell Grants in excess of the cost of attendance.

During the floor debate, Rep. Miller said, “[This bill] eliminates this discriminating provision in the law, ensuring that students receive the full amount of the Pell Grants they are entitled to receive.” Rep. Miller added, “This is a one year fix, and we do so because we anticipate that this would cover the upcoming academic year. And we hope to be able to make the permanent changes when we reauthorize the Higher Education Act in this Congress.”

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) said, “In a time when we are trying to keep the cost of education down, we penalize students that choose to go to a school that is charging less tuition. It seems like we have it really mixed up, and I am glad this bill is coming out to help us change that.”

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