The Future of Lower-Income Students in Higher Education: Rethinking the Pell Program and Federal Tax Incentives
As the costs of higher education have soared, the value of Pell grants has declined, making it more difficult for lower-income students to obtain an education without being hopelessly mired in debt. This article traces the evolution of the Pell program and discusses the diametrically opposed proposals of Presidents Obama and Trump to reform federal funding for higher education. The article proposes an alternative plan that would require a redirection of a portion of the funds from the Pell program and a reshuffling of the current tax incentives for higher education. The advantages of this proposal are that it would provide more efficient funding for higher education because it would lower many of the barriers that lower-income students face, it would help alleviate the student debt crisis, and it would not involve an expenditure of additional federal funds.