Proceed Carefully with Pell-Funded Dual Enrollment Programs

"Earlier this month, Republican Sen. Rob Portman (OH) and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner (VA) joined forces to introduce a bill that would allow high school students to enroll in college coursework using Pell Grant funds. But while such a move could increase access to advanced coursework--and there's rigorous evidence to suggest longer-term benefits in earning a degree-- it’s not without risks to students," according to New America's EdCentral blog.

"For instance, an earlier version of the Portman-Warner bill (the latest version doesn’t yet have language available online) required that the college participating in the partnership with high schools accept the credits awarded toward a program of study after the student graduates. That seems like a no-brainer.

But there’s no requirement that the credits be transferable to any other institution. And in many cases, they’re probably not--essentially locking the student into either enrolling at that school after graduation or losing the credits he just earned. A report from the National Center for Education Statistics found that two-thirds of students who transfer across colleges lose at least some of their credits; nearly 40 percent lose every credit earned at the first institution. And according to the Education Commission of the States, over a third of states do not require even the public institutions in their states to accept credits from dual enrollment programs.

Worse yet, without specific legislative changes, students will be using up their own finite eligibility to receive Pell Grants. Dual enrollment programs likely wouldn’t be exempt from the Pell Grant lifetime eligibility limit of 12 semesters, which Congress set back in 2012.

Take a student who takes two semesters of half-time courses using Pell Grants during high school; already, he’s used up the equivalent of one full semester--or a half-year of his total six years of lifetime eligibility for Pell Grants."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 4/21/2017

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