Pell grants drive college success
Students sign up for one-time Summer 2010 Pell Grants at the Carrollton Campus of Bevill State Community College, in Pickens County AL, one of the 30 poorest in the US, May 2010.
In cooperation with the Rural Community College Alliance National Scholars Committee, which is chaired by EPC Director Steve Katsinas, the EPC published a national study of more than 200 community colleges from across the country on the impact of the new Pell Grant funding in April 2011. Nearly 400,000 additional students were served in the largest single increase in Pell Grant funding since the program was first enacted. The Chronicle of Higher Education provided national attention for this report, which was released at the 2011 Council for the Study of Community Colleges annual meeting. Nine separate state-level reports were also produced, all of which are posted at the EPC websites.
In February 2012, the Education Policy Center issued the first of two companion reports,
Access and Funding in Public Higher Education— the 2011 National Survey Pell Grants and the Lifting of Rural America’s Future. This report was written by Steve. Katsinas and Frank Mensel of the University of Alabama, Linda Serra Hagedorn and Janice N. Friedel of Iowa State University, and Mark M. D’Amico of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
A second companion report, The Impact of Pell Grants at Kansas Community Colleges – Technical Report, was written by Frank Mensel, Stephen G. Katsinas, & Rebecca C. Midkiff of the Education Policy Center at The University of Alabama, in partnership with Janice Nahra Friedel & Linda Serra Hagedorn of Iowa State University, and Mark M. D'Amico of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
These reports were covered by the Associated Press in stories that were widely covered across the State of Kansas. It also led to a major national feature in Community College Week, "Pell Power, Powered by Pell--Rural Community Colleges Benefiting from Federal Pell Grant Program." (March 19, 2012). We thank the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees for their gift of $1,500 to assist with this study.
In September 2012, UA Vice Provost for Research Joe Benson hosted a meeting with EPC Director Katsinas and staff from the U.S. Senate Committees on Appropriations and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, at which inquiries were made as to the impact of the new Pell Grant eligibility restrictions on college access in the Deep South states. These restrictions were enacted by Congress in June 2012 and implemented immediately with the Fall 2012 term. Katsinas noted that nearly every Alabama community college reported declining enrollments in the site visits he was conducting as part of another research grant. Small grants were obtained from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, and the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges to study the impact of the Pell Grant eligibility restrictions. The report A Study of Pell Grants in Alabama and the companion Technical Report were issued on November 26, 2012.
On January 8, 2013, The Vital Role of Pell Grants in Lifting Up Mississippi, was released at Hinds Community College in Jackson, MS. Release of this report received statewide media attention across the Magnolia State.
On February 12, 2013, the three state study, The Impact of New Pell Grant Restrictions on Community Colleges: A Three State study of Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, was released at a Congressional Briefing hosted by United States Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), the South's most senior member in the Senate in terms of seniority. This event was co-sponsored by the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University.
On February 12, 2013, the study, The Impact of New Pell Grant Restrictions on Community Colleges: A Three State study of Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, was presented at the auditorium of the United States Department of Education. This event was co-sponsored by the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, Iowa State University, and the Rural Community College Alliance.
Key personnel: Stephen G. Katsinas, EPC Director; Linda Serra Hagedorn and Janice N.
Friedel, Iowa State University; Frank Mensel, Senior Fellow, EPC; Mark M. D'Amico,
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and EPC Research Associates Phillip D. Grant, Jonathan P. Koh, J. Lucas Adair, D. Nelson Tidwell, and S. Caroline Taylort