On Tuesday a pair of senators introduced legislation that would permit high school students to receive Pell Grant funds for completing college coursework. The Go to High School, Go to College Act of 2015 was introduced by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), with a companion bill expected to be introduced in the House by Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH and Chris Gibson (R-NY).
This bipartisan effort aims to provide an incentive for high schools to grow or establish early college programs; such programs are often constrained by tuition costs that are prohibitive for students yet also difficult for schools to simply absorb. The intent is to allow Pell Grant funding to be accessed by students that earn transferable college credits, which would include core general education requirements, given that the credits are earned through an early college program offered by an accredited institution. According to a summary of the legislation, the bill will address concerns of any adverse impact on students by reimbursing early college programs for “the cost of tuition and fees on behalf of eligible students retroactively, based on college credits completed up to an associate degree or four semesters of college coursework.”
What is not known at this time is what effect this will have on a student’s Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used; when that detail is clarified this article will be updated to reflect that information.
“Expanding the Pell Grant program so that students are able to earn meaningful credits for college while they are still in high school will increase college completion rates, reduce the time and cost of earning a degree, and give more talented, low-income students a fair shot at a college education,” said Sen. Warner in a press release issued to mark the bill’s introduction.
It is unlikely that this legislation will advance on its own, but could prove to be a marker for inclusion in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. For more information on that process, and to read about NASFAA’s efforts to provide recommendations and guidance to policymakers, please visit www.nasfaa.org/reauth.
Publication Date: 4/30/2015