New Bill Seeks Indexing of Pell Grants to Inflation

October 21, 2019
In The News

Two lawmakers have joined hands to introduce a bill that would increase the Pell Grant value by matching it with the rising cost of attending college.

Representatives Susie Lee (Nev.-03) and Sean Casten (Ill.-06) moved the Pell Grant Sustainability Act that will index the Pell Grants to Inflation.

Over the years, amid a sustainable rise in inflation, the value of Pell Grants have remained flat, leaving the responsibility of covering major expenses of college education on students.

“Our Pell Grant system has been incredibly successful with helping Americans get their degrees, but this success will not be sustained if the value of these grants continues to diminish,” said Rep. Casten.

Rep. Susie Lee


From 2009 to 2018, the value of discretionary Pell Grants stayed flat while inflation rose 17%. That means the Pell Grant is less valuable with each passing year. @RepCasten and I introduced a bill to ensure Pell Grants indexed to inflation.

Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduates who display exceptional financial need. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,195 for the 2019–20 award year.

“Not indexing Pell Grants to inflation has made this vital resource less and less valuable with each passing year,” said Rep. Lee.

Earlier this week, the House Democrats in the College Affordability Act that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act proposed increasing the value of Pell Grants to cover a larger share of tuition and put more money in students’ pockets to pay for food, housing, and other basic essentials.