Congressmen Rooney-Norman Introduce the Pell for Performance Act

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Congressmen Rooney-Norman Introduce the Pell for Performance Act, November 16, 2017 | Chris Berardi (202-897-7700) | comments

Washington, DC – Congressmen Francis Rooney (FL-19) and Ralph Norman (SC-05) introduced the Pell for Performance Act. This legislation seeks to motivate students to graduate within six years. If students are not able to complete their degree within six years, this act would compel them to repay the grant in the form of an unsubsidized Stafford Loan.

Congressman Rooney stated, “This act will focus efforts of both colleges and students to complete their degrees in a timely manner as well as bring forth more bang for the taxpayer’s buck. It is important for Pell Grants to be accessible to students who need them, and are committed to graduating and joining the workforce.”

“The taxpayer-friendly Pell for Performance Act will encourage students who receive the Pell Grant - a federally funded grant program - to graduate college in a timely manner,” said Rep. Norman. “This legislation will ultimately save taxpayer dollars by holding Pell Grant recipients accountable for not graduating on time, rather than leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill. I look forward to working with my colleague, Rep. Rooney, to move this bill through the legislative process.”

Background: Pell Grants are a vital option for low-income students who seek an affordable college education. 46% percent of students who attend a public university are awarded the Pell Grant, and many students for various reasons find themselves languishing and not graduating in a timely manner. In fact, 37% of students do not graduate within six years. 

Students obtain Pell Grants through the Federal Pell Grant program with few strings attached.  The program lacks a mechanism to make sure colleges and the student are focused on graduating students on time and completing their degrees. The program is currently funded at $22.47 billion with students receiving 82% more in grants than a decade ago. Unfortunately, the increase in Pell Grant spending is a contributing factor in driving up college tuitions by 64% for public universities, thus impacting the affordability for all students. Sadly, in its current state the Pell Grant program fails both the student and ultimately the taxpayer.

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Tags: Education