WASHINGTON, District of ColumbiaU.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, recently received the National Education Service Award from the Association of Community Colleges Trustees and the American Association of Community Colleges. The award recognizes leaders for their efforts to support post-secondary education and training.

“As new jobs emerge in areas like advanced technology and health care, community colleges will continue playing a critical role in preparing students for the 21st century economy,” Blunt said. “That’s why I’ve been proud to lead efforts to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible for Missouri students, including making Pell Grants available year round. I’m honored to receive this award, and will continue working to expand opportunity and make sure more students in our state and across the nation have the knowledge and skills they need to get ahead.”

As chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Education, Blunt secured a provision in the bipartisan, committee-passed FY 2017 appropriations bill that would restore eligibility for year-round Pell Grants. This would allow full and part-time students to receive an additional Pell Grant during the year, helping them stay on track for graduation, enter or re-enter the workforce sooner, and graduate with less debt. Restoring year-round Pell would provide an estimated one million students, on average, an extra $1,650 to help pay for college.

Blunt has faced criticism for backing newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.