Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another Take On Pell Grant Reform...

What Obama's 2012 Budget Does—and Doesn't Do

an important excerpt:
"Pell Grants. Perhaps no other line item drew more advance outrage than the news that the Obama budget proposed to touch the Pell grant program for low-income college students. But the actual budget proposes no changes to traditional Pell grants, which are currently at their highest level ever. What it does is halt, after just two years, a program launched in the 2009-2010 school year that allowed students to apply for a whole second Pell grant for summer school or if they took extra credits.

That program turned out to cost 10 times more than expected, and there was no evidence it was helping anyone graduate from college faster. Instead, it appeared to be the case that for-profit colleges were gaming the system to encourage students to apply for the additional grants to take academically questionable courses.

As well, Obama is proposing to eliminate the interest subsidy on student loans for those who attend graduate or professional school -- a not totally unsupportable position, morally or politically. Attorneys and physicians coming out of these programs will have higher than average salaries, and the end of this program might even encourage some people to finish their PhDs faster, instead of dragging them out unnecessarily. People with graduate degrees are also the most consistent group of Democratic presidential voters in the country, and these changes aren't likely to halt that."

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