Christian Science Monitor: Extend Pell to quality, short-term programs, says NSC’s Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield

By Ayobami Olugbemiga, April 01, 2021

NSC’s Senior Fellow Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield was recently quoted in a Christian Science Monitor story about college affordability. “At a time when millions are out of work, extending Pell to short-term programs would put people on a path to get quickly back into the job market,” she said. “And it won’t require them to take on debt.”

Earlier this month, a group of 11 higher education and workforce groups – including NSC, American Association of Community Colleges, and Business Roundtable – sent a letter to Congressional leadership endorsing the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, which was recently reintroduced in the US Senate and House of Representatives.

“By expanding Pell Grant availability to short-term certificates, not just degrees – the program will better meet the postsecondary needs of millions of people who are looking for a job right now and businesses in desperate need of workers,” the group writes. “Short-term programs, 54 percent of which take one year or less to complete, are often more practical for students who are also parents, caretakers or working full time, and they are frequently used as on-ramps to further education and off-ramps to the labor market.”