BusinessEducationPell Grant Overhaul Would Expand to DACA Students, Certificate...

Pell Grant Overhaul Would Expand to DACA Students, Certificate Programs


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As more workers need training to enter the post-pandemic economy, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and President Joe Biden are proposing expanding the Pell Grant program to reach more students in need.

Kaine’s Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students Act (JOBS Act) bill would let students use Pell Grants for short-term certificate programs.

The president’s budget plan would increase Pell Grant amounts by $400 and allow DACA students to receive them for the first time.

Dr. Kristen Westover, president of Mountain Empire Community College, said the grants are a major support for her college, and expanding them would give a much-needed boost to students who often struggle to pay for tuition.

“Over two-thirds of our students receive some form of Pell support, and almost that same number are either underrepresented or economically challenged,” Westover explained. “And I’m extremely happy that it will fund those DACA students as well.”

She believes it is important to expand higher education for undocumented students and, since last year, they’ve been eligible for in-state tuition in Virginia.

More than 450,000 undocumented immigrants are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, and about half are DACA recipients, according to research by the group New American Economy.

Westover pointed out the proposals are part of a national trend to make post-secondary education more widely available. She noted research shows many people who might not attend college are attracted to shorter-term training programs that can lead them to expanded training or a lifetime of learning.

“We know in this day and age that learning is something that we won’t be able to get away from,” Westover observed. “In terms of the rapid pace of technology increases, and our need for the workforce to keep up with those continually, not just in the beginning of their employment.”

But some policymakers oppose using Pell Grants for certificate courses, saying it might track students into programs that lead to low-paying jobs. More than half of employed adults with short-term certificates earned $30,000 or less per year, according to data from the nonprofit New America.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


A medida que mas trabajadores necesitan capacitacion para ingresar a la economia pospandemica, el senador de Virginia Tim Kaine y el presidente Joe Biden proponen expandir el programa de subsidios Pell para llegar a mas estudiantes necesitados.

El proyecto de ley JOBS Act de Kain, permitiria a los estudiantes utilizar los subsidios Pell para programas de certificacion a corto plazo.

El plan presupuestario del presidente aumentaria los montos de las becas Pell en 400 dolares y permitiria que los estudiantes de DACA las reciban por primera vez.

Kristen Westover, presidenta de Mountain Empire Community College en Virginia, dice que los subsidios son de gran apoyo para su universidad y ampliarlas daria un impulso muy necesario a los estudiantes quienes a menudo tienen dificultades para pagar la tarifas.

“Mas de dos tercios de nuestros estudiantes reciben algun tipo de apoyo Pell, y casi ese mismo numero no tiene representacion o tiene dificultades economicas,” Westover explica. “Estoy muy feliz de que tambien financie a los estudiantes de DACA.”

Ella cree que es importante ampliar la educacion superior para los estudiantes indocumentados y desde el ano pasado, han sido elegibles para la inscripcion estatal en Virginia.

Mas de 450 mil migrantes indocumentados estan inscritos en colegios y universidades de Estados Unidos y aproximadamente la mitad son beneficiarios de DACA, segun datos de una investigacion del grupo New American Economy.

Westover senala que estas propuestas son parte de una tendencia nacional para hacer que la educacion post-secundaria sea mas disponible. Ella dice que la investigacion muestra que muchas personas que podrian no asistir a la universidad se sienten atraidas por programas de capacitacion a corto plazo los cuales podrian llevarlos a una formacion ampliada o a una vida de aprendizaje.

“Sabemos que en esta epoca el aprendizaje es algo de lo que no nos podemos escapar,” agrega Westover. “En terminos de rapidez y el aumento de la tecnologia, y nuestra necesidad de que la fuerza laboral se mantenga continua y no sea solo durante el comienzo de su empleo.”

Pero algunos legisladores se oponen al uso de los subsidios Pell para cursos certificados, argumentando que podria hacer que los estudiantes ingresen a programas que conduzcan a trabajos mal pagados. Mas de la mitad de los adultos empleados con certificados a corto plazo ganaban 30 mil dolares o menos por ano, segun datos de la organizacion sin fines de lucro New America.

La Fundacion Lumina proporciono apoyo para este informe.

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