East Hawaii News

Hirono Fights for Affordable Higher Education

August 19, 2015, 3:45 PM HST
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United States Senator Mazie Hirono, along with New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, introduced a bill that would increase access to affordable post-secondary education for low-to-moderate income students.

The Middle Class Creating Higher Education Affordability Necessary to Compete Economically, or CHANCE, bill would address the loss in value of Pell Grants by adjusting them for inflation. It would also reinstate year-round Pell Grants and increase the number of eligible semesters to 15.

“As college tuition increases across the country, students and families are struggling to make ends meet,” said Senator Hirono. “Unfortunately, the Pell Grant program has not grown at the same rate as rising college tuition. More than 23,000 Hawai’i students rely on Pell Grants and those students deserve to know they can count on Pell Grants to help pay for college, regardless of their schedules, work, or family commitments. Investing in education is one of the best investments we can make to grow our middle class, and I’m proud to work with Senator Heinrich to help more students pursue their dreams.”

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and College Board officials say that the burden of paying for college has shifted to students with an increase in tuition and decreases in state funding.

Across the country, almost nine million students depend on Pell Grants to help fund their educations officials say.

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In Hawai’i, more than 23,000 students reply on a Pell Grant and over 1,600 students used year-round Pell Grants before they were cut in 2011.

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