Some low- and moderate-income high school students who take “dual enrollment” college courses will be eligible for federal college aid, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in Memphis last week, reports the Commercial Appeal.
The experimental program will offer Pell aid to cover college tuition for 10,000 students.
Dual enrollment courses are expanding rapidly nationwide. Some states or school districts cover high school students’ college tuition and textbook costs, but others do not.
Pell Grants, which now cost more than $30 billion a year, should be require college readiness, argues Isabel Sawhill, a Brookings researcher.
Targeting college aid to those most likely to succeed should start with counseling in 9th grade or earlier on the courses, grades and test results needed to do well in college. Students who “achieved a basic level of proficiency” would receive more generous support than the current Pell maximum. Low performers would not get college aid, but could receive “support for other training or education programs.”
Linking Pell to readiness misses students who need help most, responds Sara Goldrick-Rab.