Everyone, from President Barack Obama to U.S. Representative Paul Ryan to Bill Gates, seems to have an idea for improving the Federal Pell Grant Program for higher education, Bloomberg reports. Worthy though some of these efforts may be, none reveals the crux of the problem: A huge proportion of this $40 billion annual federal investment is flowing to people who simply aren’t prepared to do college-level work. And this is perverting higher education’s mission, suppressing completion rates and warping the country’s K-12 system. About two-thirds of low-income community-college students — and one-third of poor students at four-year colleges — need remedial (aka “developmental”) education, according to Complete College America, a nonprofit group. But it’s not working: Less than 10 percent of students who start in remedial education graduate from community college within three years, and just 35 percent of remedial students earn a four-year degree within six years. What if the government decreed that three years hence, students would only be eligible for Pell aid if enrolled in credit- bearing college courses, thus disqualifying remedial education for support?…Read More
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The “public” component of public higher education is rapidly eroding, with public colleges now getting more than 43 percent of their revenues from student tuition as opposed to state and local taxpayers, compared to less than 30 percent as recently as a decade ago.
The figures come from a new report out March 16 offering the latest snapshot of who pays the bill for America’s public colleges and universities, which educate roughly 70 percent of students.
SHEEO, a group representing state higher education officials, finds that amid surging demand for college, per-student state and local funding for higher education has fallen 12.5 percent over the last five years and reached its lowest point in the 25 years of the study.…Read More
Congress’s latest omnibus spending bill will effectively eliminate federal Pell Grant funding for an estimated 143,000 low-income college students starting in July. The Pell Grant cuts come just a month after budget estimates showed the popular program would run a surplus in 2012.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a $1 trillion spending measure Dec. 19 that included major changes to Pell Grant eligibility.
Students who take more than six years to earn a college degree no longer will qualify for Pell Grant money, meaning 63,000 recipients will have to look elsewhere for tuition. The former eligibility cap was for students who had taken nine years to finish school.…Read More
A government report released Aug. 4 details “fraudulent” practices among recruiters for some for-profit colleges, and public criticism of the popular institutions has mounted as recent statistics show that at least one for-profit university received $1 billion in federal Pell Grants during the 2009-10 academic year.
Investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) posed as college students and found that four out of 15 institutions they examined “encouraged fraudulent practices” to secure federal student loans, and representatives from all 15 colleges “made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements” to the undercover students, according to a report published on the GAO’s web site.
The extensive report is the latest in a string of negative publicity for for-profit schools, which include industry giants such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, and DeVry University.…Read More
President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget includes $156 billion in student aid, a second consecutive increase in Pell Grant funds, and a lower cap for student loan repayments—but financial aid officials said the proposals fall short of policy changes that would make college universally accessible.
The president’s budget, released Feb. 1, raises Pell Grants from $5,500 to $5,710. The Pell Grant program would see a $17 billion increase under the administration’s plan; Obama boosted Pell Grants by 13 percent in his fiscal 2010 budget. The budget calls for linking Pell Grant increases to the annual inflation rate plus 1 percent, making the maximum Pell Grant nearly $7,000 in 10 years.
The administration’s student aid package marks a 60-percent increase since 2008.…Read More
Research university officials praised President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal, which includes more funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Pell Grant program used by nearly 9 million college students this year.
The higher-education funding increases were tempered with a proposal that could shrink campus coffers: High-income taxpayers would be able to deduct less from charitable donations to colleges and universities if the budget is approved by Congress.
The proposed federal budget increases funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) by 8 percent, or $7.4 billion for fiscal year 2011. The funding increase would grow NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship program and the Faculty Career Development program, according to an NSF announcement. Both initiatives train college students and new educators in scientific research.…Read More