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Simplifying and Modernizing Pell Grants to Maximize Efficiency and Impact

By: Judith Scott-Clayton

Abstract

The federal role in higher education has grown over the past two decades, and now a new administration has the opportunity to strengthen policies that support students and their colleges and universities. To help inform these decisions, the Urban Institute convened a bipartisan group of scholars and policy advisers to write a series of memos highlighting some of the most critical issues in higher education and recommending policy solutions. This memo suggests reforming federal student aid by simplifying the eligibility and application process, removing incentives that slow progress toward completion, and leveraging low-cost guidance services to help students make the most of their awards.