Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota

Press Releases

May 17 2018

Heitkamp Announces U.S. Dept. of Education Waiver that will Prevent UTTC from Losing Pell Grant Eligibility

Senator Urged Department of Education to Grant Waiver to Allow UTTC to Continue Serving Students and Tribes, Especially Low-income and First-generation Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced that the U.S. Department of Education, with authority granted by legislation Heitkamp helped pass into law in March, has granted a waiver to United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) allowing the school to continue to participate in the Federal Pell Grant Program to help students afford the cost of higher education.

Without a waiver, UTTC had been at risk of losing its Pell Grant eligibility, which many low-income students rely on to afford their education. Losing Pell Grant eligibility would have posed a significant threat to the school’s ability to continue to operate.

“Without Pell Grants, many students would simply not be able to afford higher education, so this waiver was vitally important to UTTC and the students it serves,” Heitkamp said. “I fought to retain Pell Grant eligibility for UTTC because it’s a unique and critical institution that serves Native students – many aspiring to be the first in their families to gain a college education. After working closely with the U.S. Department of Education to craft a legislative provision to allow them to grant this waiver, UTTC and its students finally have the certainty and support they need to enter the next school year on a solid footing.” 

Earlier this year, Heitkamp and U.S. Senator John Hoeven urged U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to grant UTTC a waiver to remain Pell Grant eligible. Heitkamp worked with the Department of Education to craft a provision explicitly giving the Department the authority it said it needed to grant such a waiver to UTTC. The provision passed as part of the congressional funding bill signed into law in March.


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