House Education Panel Mulls Pell Grant Reform

Career College Central summary:

  • A House subcommittee this week heard the gamut on ways to reform the federal Pell Grant program—from tightening student eligibility to incrementally disbursing checks to students based on class attendance—as Congress prepares to reauthorize the nation’s main student aid legislation.
  • Members of the House Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee—as well as the four witnesses from the higher education sector—agreed that the Pell program, which has swelled to about $30 billion a year, needs some adjusting to curtail costs and to ensure that students who need financial assistance the most get it—and that they succeed in college. But they differed on how to do it.
  • “There is concern among members of the higher education community and of my colleagues in Congress that Pell has strayed too far from its original intent,” said subcommittee chair Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), who noted that the program serves more than 9 million students.
  • Jenna Ashley Robinson, outreach director at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, contended that too many students receive Pell Grants, saying only very low-income students should receive financial aid.

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