Pell isn’t for the poor any more

Designed to help low-income students go to college, Pell Grants increasingly are going to middle-class students, an analyst writes.

What’s a degree worth in job market?  Virginia’s new data base answers that question — at least for graduates who work in the state.

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  1. Bostonian says:

    The maximum Pell grant is $5550. If you say that a child from a family with income below $30,000 is eligible for the full grant but a child from a family with income of $40,000 is ineligible, with smaller Pell grants given to student from families between these earnings levels, that works out to a stiff marginal tax rate of 5550/10000 = 55.5% for income between 30K and 40K. If you allow higher-income families to get Pell grants to reduce the marginal tax rate, you increase the cost of the program.

    I support reducing Pell grants across the board, since they enable too many unqualified students to attend college.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    We should get rid of Pell Grants and just skip the middlemen: the Government should just give cash to any accredited university as a direct infrastructure grant.

    That might force people to wake up and realize that the money is just a university subsidy in the first place, and that it can be used as a lever to force universities to keep costs and tuition down.

    Of course, it would be better to just get the Feds out of the entire business, but let’s work in the world of the possible.

  3. Crimson Wife says:

    How could 82% of college students be eligible for Pell Grants at the same time 54% of all college students come from families in the top quintile in incomes? Either one of those two statistics has to be wrong, or else we really are giving Pell Grants to the wrong people.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      The statistics are mixing up units.

      *) Pell Grants can go to undergraduate students at 4-year or 2-year colleges.

      *) Pell Grants now go to the number of students that is equal to 82% of those students attending 4-year colleges. See the label on the chart, not the text in the article :-) I think that the chart is correct, not the article.

      *) So … this does not mean that 82% of the students attending 4-year colleges are receiving Pell Grants. Lots of students attending 2-year colleges are getting Pell Grants, so the percent of students attending 4-year colleges is less than 82%. From the data provided, we can’t tell what the actual numbers are.

      *) And because of the way they are describing this, it is possible for more than 100% of the number of students attending 4-year colleges to be receiving Pell Grants …

      *) Random Googling suggests that about 30% of the undergraduate students in college are at 2-year colleges, but I haven’t verified this number. Assuming that it is correct, then (0.82*0.7 ~= 60%) about 60% of students attending 2-year or 4-year colleges are getting Pell Grants. Which still suggests that lots of this money is going to fairly well off families.

  4. US needs more college grads says:

    “The cost of a college degree in the United States has increased “12 fold” over the past 30 years, far outpacing the price inflation of consumer goods, medical expenses and food.” I am not sure how many of the 60k or less families (especially when it takes both parents working to get that amount) consider themselves “well off”. If the increase of eligibility results in more college graduates, we all win. More funds doesn’t guarantee more grads but without the Pell Grant program there is a lot less opportunity.