The Pell Grant is a federal program that targets government aid toward low-income individuals who want to attend college. Recipients are determined by financial circumstances and need.
“The reason why they are trying to do this is to achieve (the Obama administration’s) long-term goal of increasing the number of Americans who have college degrees,” said Mark Kantrowitz, vice president of strategy at cappex.com, a website that helps students find college scholarships.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, a little more than half of all undergraduate students finish their bachelor’s degrees, and one-third take more than the traditional four years to do so. The longer students stay in school, the higher debt they accumulate.
Some higher education experts have criticized the Pell Grant program, citing data that Pell Grant recipients often graduate at lower rates than their peers.