CBS 19: Bill moving military service education grant program to Pell program passes Senate

A bill that concerns federal student aid for Gold Star Families is on its way to the U.S. House after passing in the Senate.

Senators Tim Kaine, Jon Tester and Catherine Cortez Masto announced the passage of the Protecting Our Gold Star Families’ Education Act on Friday.

According to a release, this bill would expand the Pell Grant program to include the children and dependents of those killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.

“Every day, Virginia’s servicemembers and their families sacrifice so much to keep us safe,” said Senator Kaine. “We owe it to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to look after their children and help them access higher education.”

“The sacrifices families of those tragically killed in the line of duty have made for our nation are immeasurable, and this legislation ensures that their children have access to quality education,” Senator Cortez Masto said. “By making college affordable, we are taking care of the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.”

Under current law, students whose parents died as a result of military service in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 can get federal student aid for postsecondary education equivalent to the Pell Grant program, but the U.S. Department of Education required institutions to reduce the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant awards for the 2021-22 award year as a result of sequestration.

The release says this bill would move the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant to the Pell Grant program, which is exempt from the impacts of sequestration, stabilizing the funding source for such awards.

The bill unanimously passed the U.S. Senate and now goes to the House for consideration.