Federal Pell Grant Recipients Surprisingly Aren’t Graduating (STATISTIC INSIDE)

3 years ago



The U.S government has paid out over $325 billion dollars through Pell Grants. However, new data shows that few grant recipients managed to graduate from colleges and universities within 6 years. Among the possible reasons for such low graduation rates are insufficient grant sums each student receives and the special needs of low-income students that remain not addressed. Today, the Typical Student team will discuss the situation.

A number of low-income students from low-income families are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grant to support their education. However, new data shows that so many of them fail to graduate. Are these the specific needs of low-income students that prevent them from graduating? Or is the whole system of Federal Pell Grants and Pell Grant eligibility somehow flawed? We’ll try to figure this out. 

What is Pell Grant?


Pell Grant is the largest single federal financial aid program for low-income students. It’s financed with taxpayers’ investments and is meant to help low-income students earn their degrees and enter the workforce as qualified professionals. More than 7.5 million students are expected to get this financial aid the upcoming academic year. However, the effectiveness of the Pell Grant system has been swayed by recent data. 

Pell Grant Eligibility

How to get a grant is not a question if you qualify for it. To get this grand, the student is not required to demonstrate any prior academic achievements or honors. Extracurricular activities aren’t a factor either. 

Any U.S. citizen or eligible not-citizen in financial need can enroll and receive a grand package, the amount of which depends on the college that the student will attend. Currently, Pell grant income limits for families of recipients lie below $40,000 per year.

What’s Wrong with Federal Pell Grant?


New data indicates that only a half of all Pell Grant recipients in 2011 have graduated from colleges within last six years. This is 10% lower than the median of all students that enrolled at the universities in 2011.

At the same time, only 20% of Pell Grant recipients earned degrees at for-profit institutions. The number goes further down for some private institutions. For example, none out of 201 Pell Grant recipients, who enrolled at Arkansas Baptist College has graduated. The same drastic zero graduation rate holds true for 48 other institutions across the country.

It’s estimated that the government has paid out over $325 billion dollars through Pell Grants. The new findings suggest that great portion of taxpayers’ investments is spent in vain.

What Can Be The Reasons For Low Graduation Pell Grant Estimate?


It’s debated that the low graduation rate of Pell Grant recipients is connected with special challenges that low-income college students face. Grant recipients are often representatives of ethnic and racial minorities and are the first in their families to attend college. What’s more, a portion of Pell Grant recipients work at least part-time or have children.

However, the most probable reason for low graduation rates lies within the flawed Pell Grant system. Last decade the grant sums allocated to students hasn’t kept up with the college costs. College Board Pell Grant Calculator indicates that the grants covered as low as 17% of college costs at private institutions and 59% of tuition and other fees at public institutions. 

What Can Be Done To Fix the Problem?

Several solutions have been proposed to increase the graduation rates of Pell grantees. 

  • Some argue that high school GPAs or SAT scores should be taken into account when grants are allocated. 
  • It’s been proposed to provide bonuses to colleges and institutions for every Pell graduate.
  • Alternatively, it’s been offered to penalize institutions for every Pell grantee that drops out, making them pay the part of the grant out.

All in all, the new data indicates a problem with Pell Grants that should somehow be addressed. Hopefully, the Pell Grant system overcomes the obstacles, and we see more and more low-income students graduating in future.


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