Expanding Short-term Pell to For-Profit Institutions Creates Real Risk For Students

By Ayobami Olugbemiga, September 27, 2019

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander introduced a package of bills Thursday to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), which includes a proposal that would allow for-profit colleges to access Pell grants for short-term programs.

Kermit Kaleba, managing director of policy at National Skills Coalition, issued the following statement in response:

We support the expansion of Pell grants for high-quality, postsecondary education and training programs. That’s why we’ve worked with a bipartisan group of nearly 20 U.S. Senators and more than 40 Representatives on the JOBS Act, which would allow qualifying institutions to provide Pell grants to working adults and other students while maintaining strong quality assurance safeguards.

Unfortunately, the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019 removes many of those safeguards and opens up eligibility to for-profit institutions, which creates real risks for students and taxpayers. While we appreciate Chairman Alexander’s willingness to include Pell expansion in this proposal, we strongly support the adoption of the bipartisan version of the JOBS Act, which was shaped through hard work and thoughtful consideration.

We urge the Chairman to replace the current proposal with the bipartisan language under the JOBS Act so that we can ensure that Pell is supporting quality credentials and programs that help students achieve their employment and educational goals.