Alexander Honors Claiborne Pell on Senate Floor

Calls for Pell Grant for Kids

Posted on January 6, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the Senate regarding the passing of former Senator Claiborne Pell: • “On January 1, Claiborne Pell died. Claiborne Pell was the senator from Rhode Island, the longest serving senator from that state, a senator whose name is known by most college students and by most people who care about education in America because he was largely responsible for helping to create in 1973 what we now call the Pell Grant, a federal scholarship that follows students to the college of their choice.” • “It all started not with the Pell Grant but just at the end of World War II with the GI Bill for veterans . . . it was an educational scholarship the veterans could spend wherever they wished . . . the GI Bill for veterans followed the student to the college of that student's choice.” • “Senator Pell, by his leadership and his work as chairman of the Education Subcommittee of our Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, helped add to the legacy of the GI Bill for veterans and helped make it possible for so many Americans to go to college.” • “I have always wondered why if the Pell Grant was such a good idea for colleges, why don't we try it for kindergarten through the 12th grade. We seem to overlook the fact that American students can choose their college and the money follows the student to the college.” • “Why not look to the example of our higher education system and try it with kindergarten through the 12th grade? The Pell Grants for Kids I proposed was to give every single child from a middle- or low-income family a $500 scholarship that would follow them to the school or other accredited academic program of their choice.”