Press Release


Kelley KarnesIssued: 06-23-23

CGS Contact: Kelley Karnes
602-791-8278 /


Washington, DC – The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) proudly endorses the Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act introduced today by Representatives Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) and Tim Burchett (R-TN). This bipartisan legislation would allow graduate students who received Pell Grant support as undergraduates the ability to apply remaining Pell Grant funds towards a graduate degree.

Under current law, Pell Grant awards can only be used for undergraduate education, but many students do not fully exhaust all of their award funds. The Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act would allow students to continue utilizing any remaining award towards their first graduate degree if they are still income eligible.

CGS has been a longtime advocate for the expansion of the Pell Grant program for graduate education. Suzane T. Ortega, President of CGS, says that the Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act will help low-income students achieve their professional goals.

“Expanding Pell to graduate education is a policy priority for CGS because it will allow those with great financial need the ability to pursue a graduate education,” Ortega said. “Now more than ever we need to increase access to graduate education so Americans from all backgrounds can pursue their dreams and fill jobs that are essential to a strong and diverse workforce.”

This legislation comes at a time when there is a growing need for a graduate-level educated workforce. Employment in master’s-level occupations is projected to grow by almost 17 percent from 2016 to 2026, the fastest of any education level, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This legislation will provide prospective and current graduate students with the financial resources to pursue a graduate degree and help meet local, state, and national workforce demands.

CGS thanks Representatives Kuster and Burchett for reintroducing this important and timely piece of legislation and encourages the House Education and the Workforce Committee to promptly consider and pass the legislation before sending it to the full House of Representatives.

June 23rd marks the 51st anniversary of the Federal Pell Grant Program. The program administers grants to low-income undergraduates and select post-baccalaureate students. The Pell Grant was introduced through the Higher Education Act of 1965.

About CGS

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.