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Pell Grant

We All Deserve to Know Grad Rates for Pell Students

Like many students, my college decision was based largely on the price I would have to pay — tuition, financial aid, and in-state vs. out-of-state costs all had an influence. However, there was one other factor I should have paid close attention to — one that would have solidified for me and my mother whether my investment was a sound decision — and that is graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients.

 

How Best To Serve Pell Students? These Colleges Know How

The Pell Partnership, our latest report, has been noted for “debunk[ing] the notion that Pell grants are somehow being wasted.” And it’s true. Quite a few colleges and universities across the country are serving low-income students well — that is, they are graduating them at the same rates as (or in some cases, even better than) their peers from high-income families.

We spoke with nearly a dozen of these schools to learn more about how they recruit, support (academically and financially), and otherwise ensure low-income students a fair chance at a postsecondary degree.

Many Colleges Aren’t Doing Enough to Fulfill the Promise of the Pell Grant Program

Several recent reports have estimated a significant gap in the college completion rates of the low-income students who receive federal Pell Grants and other college students, leading some to question the effectiveness of this investment of taxpayer dollars. But, according to a new report and online data tool we’re releasing today, the average graduation gap between Pell and non-Pell students at the institutional level is much smaller: only 5.7 percentage points.

Finally, Help for Pell Students at Closed Campuses

When colleges shutter their campuses, who’s harmed the most? Students are, especially low-income students. They are the ones with the least protection. That’s why it was so refreshing to see Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) stand up for them by introducing the “Pell Restoration Act of 2015,” which will allow Pell Grant recipients the ability to continue their education at another institution.

The Impact of Student Employment on College Completion

See how holding down a job can negatively impact Pell students' chances of graduating.

Setting the Record Straight on Pell

Since Hechinger Report released its analysis on the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients, some people have called the effectiveness of the Pell Grant program into question. Lost in those arguments, though, are three crucial points about the program:

Pell Grants Provide Access; Institutions Must Support Completion

The Hechinger Report just published an article on the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients at 82 of the largest public and private institutions in the nation. Considering nearly 9 million low-income students receive Pell Grants annually, it’s a topic that we care deeply about. In fact, we’ve spent the last year collecting and analyzing the graduation rates of these very students. And, in a few weeks, we’ll share what we found.

What I Didn’t Know About Choosing a College

When I was a high school senior (many moons ago), I thought I was well-equipped to make the best college choice for me. I had read the brochures (Google wasn’t a thing back then); talked with my school counselor as well as friends and family; and visited campuses to check things out in person. After doing all of that and receiving acceptance letters and financial aid packages, I made a decision...

An Updated College Results Online = More Data for You

College Results Online has been updated with the most recent data from the federal government (2012-13), giving you even more information to compare in this one-stop shop tool. At CollegeResults.org — now in its 10th year of compiling and sharing critical information on colleges across the country — you can select nearly any four-year college or university and compare its graduation rate with that of similar institutions serving similar students.

The Lumina Foundation’s “Where Financial Aid Began: Partnering with Campuses and States”

The last time we checked in, we shared Part 3 of the Lumina Foundation and Institute for Higher Education Policy’s Looking Back to Move Forward: A History of Federal Student Aid. It’s a great documentary series on the evolution of federal student aid. 

CFPB Public Hearing on Student Debt

If you live in Milwaukee or plan to be there this week, consider joining the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for a public hearing on student debt this Thursday. 

A Must-See: The Lumina Foundation’s “A History of Federal Student Aid”

Have you seen The Lumina Foundation and the Institute for Higher Education Policy’s film series, Looking Back to Move Forward: A History of Federal Student Aid? The four-part series provides insight into the evolution of federal student aid over the last 60 years.

Pell Grants have helped millions of students from low-income families attend college. But you’ll be surprised to see the struggle that the program had to go through to become what it is today.

Don’t Understate What Low-Income Students Pay for College

Recent news reports have implied that elite colleges are a bargain for low-income students — that the financial aid awarded to them reduces the total price to a manageable amount, even for our nation’s poorest students.

But these reports have missed one crucial point...

Where in the Pell Are They? U.Va. Can Be Selective Without Being Exclusive

High-achieving students from low-income backgrounds aren’t fictitious characters from the Game of Thrones HBO series; they exist — and in much larger numbers than many elite institutions would have you believe. Too many of these institutions rely on their selective admissions requirements to explain why so few low-income students enroll in their college.

In fact, at a symposium we co-hosted this month in Charlottesville, Va., a senior administrator at the University of Virginia used this excuse while attempting to explain why Pell Grant recipients make up only 12 percent of undergraduates, even though about 42 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds without a college degree in the Commonwealth are from low-income or working-class family backgrounds.

Low-Income Students Deserve a Real ‘CHANCE’ at Affordable College

Each year millions of Americans depend on Pell Grants to help make college affordable. Research has shown that need-based grant aid, like Pell Grants, increases college enrollment among low- and moderate-income students. But with college costs skyrocketing over the last three decades, Pell Grants have lost much of their purchasing power. In the 1980s, Pell Grants covered 77 percent of the cost of college at a four-year public college for low-income students. Today that share has dropped significantly to only 31 percent of the cost.

Unpredictable Interest Rates Make Federal Grants Even More Important

According to Congressional Budget Office estimates for the 2015-16 school year, the average undergraduate borrower will pay 5.72 percent to borrow from the federal government; for graduate borrowers the rate is forecasted at 7.27 percent, and for Parent Plus loans, 8.27 percent. All rates are higher than what students paid to take out loans this year.

What may be even more troubling than the rising interest rates is that the CBO has projected that the federal government will generate $127 billion in profits from loan payments over the next decade.

Senators Introduce Bill to Protect Pell Grants

 

35 years ago the maximum Pell Grant paid for 77 percent of the cost of tuition at an in-state, four-year college, today, that same Pell Grant pays for less than one-third of a student’s education. Furthermore, students who want to attend school year round to finish their degree in less time are not allowed to receive year-round Pell funding.  

With nearly nine million American students depending on Pell Grants to attend and complete college, this program must remain a priority in Washington.   

Luckily, there is some good news.