Published on 2013/04/12

Pell Grant Changes Proposed

The College Board released a report this month recommending changes to the Pell Grant program to better meet the needs of adult students, who are increasing in numbers on campuses across the United States.

The report, titled “Rethinking Pell Grants,” proposes changes to the program that would make the grant easier to understand and access for prospective applicants. The changes would also redesign the grants to better meet the needs of adult learners.

“With so many students — particularly older adults — leaving school without earning credentials, we must ask whether a redesigned Pell Grant program could make a difference,” Sandy Baum, a professor at Skidmore College and independent policy analyst for the College Board, told USA Today.  

The College Board’s report explains that changes to the program are necessary to direct funds in a way that will allow access to higher education for students who need assistance the most. While the College Board agrees that the Pell Grant program does work, the group also indicates that it was designed 40 years ago and that the return on investment for the program today needs to scrutinized.

The recommended changes are still intended to include traditional-aged students, but also provide a basis to support adult students using different eligibility criteria.

“We must also ensure that the program successfully meets the needs of older adults for whom postsecondary education is the best route to productive and secure work lives,” the report states.

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