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Rep. Carbajal Unveils Updated Bill to Expand Pell Grant and Improve College Affordability

Source: Office of Representative Salud Carbajal

Today, Congressman Salud Carbajal announced updated legislation to expand the Pell Grant and improve college affordability for students in California and the United States alongside University students and staff. of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly).

Congressman Carbajal’s Degree Not Debt Act would double the maximum amount of the Pell Grant to $13,800 a year, reducing the amount of onerous student loan debt for people pursuing higher education.

“American students owe nearly $2 trillion in student loans, and the tools we have to prevent students from taking on more debt to complete their education are not keeping up with the rising costs of higher education, even in our public colleges and universities,” said Congressman Carbajal. “As someone who was the first in his family to graduate from college and who relied on Pell and other federal aid to get that degree , I know it’s unacceptable that the value of these programs has eroded in recent years. The numbers don’t lie: Pell needs a radical overhaul. That’s why I’ve renewed my efforts to double the scholarship Maximum Pell Grant to improve Pell’s ability to meet the costs of a modern education, and I am delighted to have the universal support of Central Coast student organizations as well as many of our colleges and the universities.

Congressman Carbajal was joined by Central Coast students to share their own experiences with the Pell Grant and their support for the legislation.

“The Pell Fellowship[…]allowed me to go back to school. The Pell grant gave me more time to focus on school and spend a little more time with my kids. It also helped me put gas in my car… buy more nutritious groceries and buy books and supplies I needed for school,” said Angela Bradley, mother single and majoring in sociology at UC Santa Barbara. “Even with the help of the Pell grant, I had to use my credit cards to supplement my family’s other needs. If the Pell grant was doubled from what it is today, it would allow me to graduate with less stress, less debt, and more time to graduate in a timely manner…it could also offset the rising cost of food and gas.”

“As a first generation student…the Pell Grant has helped me a lot in achieving my goals. Thanks to the Federal Pell Grant…[my] the loans definitely went down, which helped me and my mom and all of our worries,” said Sara Steichen, a political science major who graduated this year from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “That being said, the current amount the Pell Grant has to offer does not fully cover all of my tuition and dorm costs…if the Federal Pell Grant had been doubled before I attended Cal Poly, I could spend the next year only prioritize my career goals. College has become increasingly accessible through various programs like the Pell Fellowship, but there is still a lot of work to be done to make college education accessible to people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

Carbajal was also joined by Saúl Quiroz, director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at UCSB.

The Debt-Free Degree Act has the endorsement of UC Santa Barbara Associated Students and the Cal State Student Association, as well as the University of California System, the State University System of California, Allan Hancock College, Cuesta College and the City of Santa Barbara. Middle School.

Last year, student loan debt in the United States stood at more than $1.7 trillion, nearly double the total credit card debt held by Americans. Californians hold the largest amount of student loan debt of any state, $141 billion, with an average student loan debt of $37,000 per borrower.

More than seven million students across the county rely on Pell Grant to cover the costs of their higher education. But Pell Grant’s current maximum award, $6,895, covers only about one-third of the average tuition at a four-year public college.

Carbajal’s legislation, which he introduced earlier to increase the Pell Grant, was revised this year to double the current level of Pell Grants available.

Congressman Carbajal’s vote in the House earlier this year raised Pell’s maximum award from $6,495 to $6,895 for the 2022-23 year.

Congressman Carbajal joined more than 100 Democrats in Congress in March in a letter urging President Joe Biden to extend the moratorium on student loan repayments through December and meaningfully write off student debt.

Representative Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture Committee, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he is Chairman of the Coast Guard and Shipping Subcommittee.