REPRESENTATIVES MORELLE AND HILL INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT LOW-INCOME STUDENTS PURSUING HIGHER EDUCATION | Representative Joseph Morelle

REPRESENTATIVES MORELLE AND HILL INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT LOW-INCOME STUDENTS PURSUING HIGHER EDUCATION

September 12, 2019
Press Release
Bill helps ensure unexpected financial burdens like sudden illness, loss of employment, or transportation emergencies do not hold students back from completing their degrees

(Washington, DC) – Today, Representatives Joe Morelle (NY-25) and Katie Hill (CA-25) introduced legislation that seeks to ensure unanticipated financial emergencies do not prevent low-income students from pursuing and completing higher education. The Cost Assistance Made Possible for Undergraduate Students (CAMPUS) Act establishes an emergency grant program for institutions of higher education to quickly provide small grants to students facing a financial crisis in an effort to help ensure they can continue their coursework and stay on track academically.

“Every student deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education and achieve their goals,” said Rep. Morelle. “But for too many Americans, financial emergencies like a vehicle breaking down or losing a job can derail a lifetime of hard work, preventing young people from completing coursework or even causing them to drop out. I’m proud to partner with Rep. Hill to introduce this important legislation and ensure students in need have the support and resources necessary to reach their full potential.”

“As a millennial in Congress who has been personally affected by the astronomical costs of higher education, I’m proud to introduce the CAMPUS Act with Representative Morelle, which will provide a safety net for low-income students who face emergency expenses that would otherwise force them to drop out,” said Rep. Hill. “I look forward to continue finding as many avenues as possible to make education accessible for all young people.” 

Currently, low-income students earn degrees in higher education at a lower rate than their peers in the upper half of the income distribution. For many of these students, emergency costs like repairing a flat tire, losing a job unexpectedly, or a sudden illness can be the financial tipping point that causes them to drop out of school.

The CAMPUS Act would authorize a new competitive grant demonstration program to help institutions participating in the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) provide students with emergency funds when a financial emergency directly impacts or threatens their ability to stay in school.

Emergency grants awarded to students must be for financial challenges that directly affect a student’s ability to continue their course of study, such as loss of employment, transportation, childcare, housing, food insecurity, medical conditions and in the case of a dependent student, death of a parent or guardian or medical condition of the parent or guardian. Individual grants cannot be greater than $750, and an eligible student cannot receive more than $2,000 in total from an institution.

Representatives Morelle and Hill were joined by Reps. Linda Sánchez, Peter King, Sean Patrick Maloney, Anthony Brindisi, and Jerry Nadler to introduce the bipartisan legislation. The bill is endorsed by Third Way, the Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities (CICU) in New York, The City University of New York (CUNY) system, and the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

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