Senator Murray Introduces Bill to Help Low Income Students - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Senator Murray Introduces Bill to Help Low Income Students

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senator from Washington state, Patty Murray, along with Senator Al Franken, have introduced an amendment to the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act to help low income students. 

The amendment will redirect the Congressional Budget Office's estimated $715 million in government profit generated by that bill, to college affordability in the form of support for the federal Pell Grant Program. 

The Pell Grant Program, which provides need-based grants to low-income students, faces a $793 million shortfall in fiscal year 2015, according to CBO. 

"Every dollar generated from this deal should be a dollar reinvested in making college more affordable," said Senator Murray, the Senate Budget Chairman and a senior member of the Senate HELP Committee. 

Pell grants cover about 1/3 of tuition and fees and help lessen the need for student loan debt for low-income students. However, given current economic conditions, there is considerable demand for Pell grants.

In recent years, Congress has reduced student aid eligibility to pay for Pell shortfalls. Given current CBO estimates, Pell grants will face a $793 million shortfall in fiscal year 2015.

The Murray-Franken amendment would allocate the surplus savings from the student loan deal, projected to be $715 million, to protect Pell grants. This would help plug the Pell shortfall, would allow the maximum grant to increase to an estimated $5,845, help prevent eligibility cuts, and expand access to financial aid for students seeking secondary degrees at vocational and trade schools.