President Donald Trump signed a federal spending bill into law May 5 that restores year-round Pell Grants.
The grants will now cover summer sessions for university students, impacting nearly 80,000 University of California students, according to the UC Pell Grants fact sheet. The budget proposal also divided $1 trillion between federal research initiatives, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies.
Year-round Pell Grants were last available in 2011, and offered more than 13,500 UC students a total of $18 million. Former President Barack Obama’s administration supported removing year-round Pell Grants from the federal budget due to cost concerns.
About 38 percent of UCLA undergraduates receive Pell Grants, according to UCLA’s website.
UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement she thinks the UC’s letter-writing campaign and several UC delegates’ advocacy for the bill helped the bill achieve the bipartisan support it needed to pass through Congress.
“UC advocates sent more than 10,000 letters to Congress since mid-April highlighting the value of federal research,” Napolitano said.
Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri who leads the Senate’s appropriations subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, said in a statement he supported the bill prior to the vote.
“By allowing full- and part-time students to receive an additional Pell Grant during the year, often for a summer session, we’re helping them stay on track for graduation, enter or re-enter the work force sooner and graduate with less debt,” Blunt said.
The U.S. government spent about $28 billion on Pell Grants in the 2015-2016 school year. About 8 million students received financial aid from Pell Grants.
The increase in the federal research budget for the 2017 fiscal year comes despite the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the same budget for the 2018 fiscal year.