Georgia lawmaker sponsors bill to help students when school shuts down

Sixth District Congresswoman Lucy McBath amended her financial disclosure form.
Sixth District Congresswoman Lucy McBath amended her financial disclosure form.

A Georgia congresswoman co-sponsored legislation introduced Thursday to extend Pell Grant eligibility to college students if their school closed or school officials committed institutional fraud or misconduct.

“Our children should not be punished and lose their Pell Grant eligibility for the actions of fraudulent colleges,”  U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, a Democrat from Cobb County, said in a statement. “Hard-working Americans from every community deserve a fair shot at a college education.”

McBath’s office said the legislation would amend Title IV of the Higher Education Act to restore students’ Pell Grant eligibility for any period of time during which they would have qualified for loan forgiveness. Pell Grants are federal awards to college students based on financial need. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2019-20 school year is $6,195.

> RELATED: Will former Argosy students get help?

Several for-profit colleges and universities have shut down in recent years, forcing students to scramble to continue or complete their education. Argosy University, which had a campus in the Atlanta area, abruptly closed in March. Many former Argosy students have struggled to continue their coursework or to find the money to pay for their education.

McBath recently co-sponsored a resolution to make permanent the “borrower defense” rule that eliminates student loan debt repayment if the school is found to have violated state laws or misled the student.

Under existing federal law, all students are entitled to 12 semesters of Pell Grant eligibility.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who is running for president, has introduced a companion measure in the Senate, McBath’s office said.