Short Title

The Federal Pell Grant Program and Reauthorization of the HEA


The Federal Pell Grant program has made education possible for many Americans. It has also helped establish the norm of public responsibility for widespread access to higher education. This essay reviews the growth of the Pell Grant program over time and its current characteristics. It then details some innovations with the potential to increase the program’s effectiveness in increasing student success, in addition to access to postsecondary education. Both the eligibility formula and the application process should be simpler and students should not have to reapply every year. Students should receive timely information and coaching services to help them select institutions and programs of study. Some smaller steps also have the potential to make a significant difference.