CED: Replace Pell with matching grants

Pell Grants should be replaced with a single federal-state matching grant, recommends the Committee for Economic Development in A New Partnership: The Road to Reshaping Federal & State Financial Aid. Cut higher ed tax credits to save $18.2 billion for student aid that expands access, the report also urges.

Income-based repayment of student loans should be the norm, CED writes.

“Replacing Pell Grants and the other federal grant programs with a need-based grant that would be partly matched by states is both novel and controversial,” notes the Chronicle of Higher Education.

At a luncheon . . . to release the report, several audience members voiced skepticism about the plan, worrying that it would penalize students in states that chose not to participate, and expressing doubt that a federal methodology for determining need would distribute aid fairly.

William R. Doyle, the Vanderbilt University professor who wrote the report, said he doubted states would refuse the aid, given the consequences for their students and colleges. He noted that states fought matching requirements in Medicaid and elementary and secondary education, but ultimately accepted the money.

“The federal government can’t be the only actor that’s concerned with access,” he argued. “They have to start expecting something back from states and institutions.”

The report is one of the studies commissioned by the Gates Foundation’s Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery project.