Bill backs more student financial aid

Legislation to boost aid for higher education to non-traditional students is under consideration in the U.S. House, co-sponsored by Representatives Don Young, R-Alaska, Brian Fitzpatrick, R- Pennsylvania, Antonio Delgado, D-New York, and Jeff Van Drew, D-New Jersey.

The Strengthening Financial Aid for Students Act would boost access for Pell Grant funding from 12 to 14 semesters. Many students exhaust their Pell Grant eligibility before they are able to complete their program, often because of non-transferrable credits, the need to care for family members, and in extreme cases, attending fraudulent institutions.

The legislation would also raise the allowable income threshold for aid eligibility, or the income protection allowance. Sponsors said income for working or non-traditional students shouldn’t count against them when it comes to student aid eligibility.

Federal Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students meeting financial need requirements who have not earned a bachelor’s graduate level or other professional degree. Further information for current Pell Grants and applications are available online at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa.