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S. 1288 (117th): College for All Act of 2021

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Sep 1, 2021.

College for All Act of 2021

This bill establishes measures to expand access to higher education, including by eliminating tuition and required fees for eligible students, revising the Federal Pell Grant program, and reauthorizing certain programs to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Specifically, the bill provides funding to eliminate tuition and required fees for (1) all students at community colleges and two-year tribal colleges and universities; (2) working- and middle-class students at four-year public institutions of higher education (IHEs) and tribal colleges and universities; and (3) eligible students at private, nonprofit historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions.

The bill permanently reauthorizes and otherwise revises the Federal Pell Grant program by

providing funding to increase the maximum award for each eligible student, increasing the duration limit for the use of Pell Grants, and allowing students to use their awards to cover living and non-tuition expenses. Next, the bill makes Dreamer students (i.e., students who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status) who entered the United States before the age of 16 and who meet certain educational criteria eligible for federal financial aid.

Further, the bill requires the Department of Education to award grants to underfunded IHEs, HBCUs, and minority-serving institutions for investing in support programs to improve student outcomes (e.g., graduation rates).

The bill also reauthorizes through FY2031 the Federal TRIO Programs and reauthorizes through FY2025 the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.