Pell Grant Commitment in 9th Grade Could Aid College Planning
"Imagine that as early as 9th grade students know how much they can count on in federal grants to pay for college. Giving students a "Pell Promise" that would guarantee the amount of federal money available after high school graduation is among the policy consideration unveiled Wednesday by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators," Education Week's College Bound blog reports. "An early commitment program could have great behavioral effects by introducing a level of certainty for low-income students and families as they decide whether to pursue higher education," says the new policy brief, Reimagining Financial Aid to Improve Student Access and Outcomes. "It could also have the impact of getting those students on a college-ready track at an earlier stage." A Pell Grant (maximum $5,550 yearly) is available to students with an average annual household income of about $30,000 to help pay for higher education expenses, and it does not have to be paid back. To determine eligibility early, "low income" could follow existing means-tested programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and free or reduced-price school lunch, NASFAA suggests. ... There was a provision in the Higher Education Opportunity Act for a pilot project on an early federal Pell Grant commitment, but it was never funded, said Megan McClean, director of policy and federal relations for NASFAA, an 18,000-member organization of student-aid professionals."
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