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Helping More Americans Complete College: New Proposals for Success

The Huffington Post – John B. King Jr. & Shaun Donovan

“Today’s good-paying jobs increasingly require a high-quality post-secondary degree or credential…Today, only 60 percent of those enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs complete their education. Even for those who do complete, at least one-third take longer than expected to graduate, forcing them to bear additional costs and leave school with higher debt burdens…We need more students completing college on a faster track, which will lower their costs of college and likely reduce their student debt. The President, through proposals to be released in his forthcoming budget, is pushing to support more students reaching this goal by proposing $2 billion in additional Pell Grants next year for students working towards their degrees…3 million students next year could benefit..”(more)

New financial aid for high schoolers taking college courses

E-School News – Jonathan Lai

“A pilot program to expand federal financial aid to high school students taking college courses will make college more affordable and accessible for low-income students, Pennsylvania community college officials said. The U.S. Department of Education announced that it would put up to $20 million in the Pell Grant program for up to 10,000 high school “dual enrollment” students in the 2016-17 school year. High school enrollment in specialized programs has fallen at some local colleges as costs have gone up. Pell grants would essentially subsidize those credits for low-income students, potentially boosting the number of high school students who take the college courses and then pursue college degrees.”(more)

Pell Grants Should Go (Only) to Needy Students Who Are Ready for College

Education Next – Chester E. Finn, Jr

“What if federal aid for college students were focused exclusively on those who are truly ready for college? What if we stopped subsidizing remedial courses on campuses and insisted that students pursuing higher learning be prepared for college-level courses (none too strenuous nowadays in many places)? And what if those courses were also made available to young people even before they matriculated to a four-year program? That would be a revelation and a revolution. But it might also do more to get young Americans and their schools serious about college readiness than anything we’ve dreamed up previously. It would save money. And it would end a great fraud that causes many college students to drop out—usually with heavy loan debts to either repay or default on—when they realize that they’ve been sorely misled as to their true preparedness for advanced-level academics.”(more)

High school students will be able to access Pell Grant money for the first time

MarketWatch – Jillian Berman

“The money the federal government provides to help low-income students pay for college will soon be available to some students as early as high school. The Department of Education announced a pilot program Friday that would give up to 10,000 students access to Pell grants while they’re still in high school that they could use to pay for courses at local colleges…Though having access to a Pell grant in high school could eliminate barriers for a student interested in college courses, it would reduce the amount of Pell grant money they could tap while in college.”(more)

An unprecedented look at Pell Grant graduation rates from 1,149 schools

The Hechinger Report – SARAH BUTRYMOWICZ

“A new study adds to a body of evidence that low-income students graduate college at lower rates than their more affluent classmates. But the report argues that this has more to do with what schools the students go to than any disadvantage springing from their socioeconomic status. Education Trust, a Washington-based education advocacy organization, collected the graduation rate of Pell grant recipients from 1,149 of public and nonprofit four-year colleges and university – a sample covering nearly 85 percent of first-time, full-time Pell students…The study found that Pell recipients had a six-year graduation rate of 51 percent in 2013 compared to 65 percent for non-Pell students. But the study found that the average was being dragged down by institutions from which few students ever graduate.”(more)