News of Pell Grant cuts commanded headlines this week. Bloomberg.com reports that career colleges, "led by Apollo Group Inc. (APOL)'s University of Phoenix, will be disproportionately hurt by cuts in the $30 billion Pell Grant program for low-income students."
The article goes on to state that "Pell Grant aid to for-profit-college students grew almost eightfold in the past decade to $7.5 billion in 2009-2010, and now accounts for 25 percent of the funds, according to the U.S. Education Department."
The New America Foundation brings word that "[a]fter months of drama, the White House and Congressional leaders found the money to keep the current maximum Pell Grant in place for the upcoming school year. But this victory did not come without a price -- Congress is on the verge of eliminating a popular policy that allows low-income students to collect two grants in a single award year with the second grant generally used to pay for summer school."
The article goes on to report that this change in policy will prove especially harmful to adult students, who, "because of their work and family commitments, don't have the time to attend college on a traditional academic schedule."
The Chronicle of Higher Education rounds out the week's reportage on the debate with an article which informs us that "the likely elimination of the year-round Pell Grant program has left thousands of students who had hoped to receive a second grant this year in limbo. Advocates worry that without the additional aid, many low-income, nontraditional students will make slower progress toward their degrees, or they could be forced to drop out of college."
At this moment in history, when more students than ever before are seeking a college education, it is important the federal government not curtail the Pell Grant program. To do so means upsetting the professional aspirations of millions of Americans, which will place the nation on the wrong footing if it is to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace.