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The Mixed Methods Blog
The Mixed Methods Blog

Fixes for Short-Term Pell

A welder at work

Providing Pell funds for short-term training programs stands out as one of the few creative federal initiatives of interest for community college workforce practitioners. Colleges would have the ability to offer educational programs in bite-size pieces to suit the needs of working adults, significantly advancing efforts to bring together credit and noncredit workforce opportunities into a coherent system.

However, this concept may be a giant step backward for these institutions and the students they serve unless the proposed changes to Pell are given careful consideration. I offer three potential unintended consequences for social and economic equity that policy makers so far have failed to address with bills that would open up Pell Grants to shorter-term programs.

First, the jury is still out on how effective short-term training programs are in raising wages or increasing employment. After all, community college students (and all postsecondary students) go to college to learn skills to get a better job and make more money. Recent empirical research by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College indicates that while some credentials do provide increased earnings, over all the majority do not provide significant wage increases -- especially when compared to programs that lead to a degree.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed.

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