BRIEF Senate drops short-term Pell proposal from Innovation and Competition Act

Higher Ed Dive

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
June 2, 2021
UPDATE: June 9, 2020: The Senate on Tuesday passed the $250 billion U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which means to improve the U.S.’s research competitiveness and curb Chinese influence.
But lawmakers removed a provision that would have greenlit federal Pell Grants to be used on programs as short as eight weeks. It still contains a raft of National Science Foundation funding for research at colleges and universities, including about $5.2 billion in scholarship money that would be provided to institutions and students directly, and $4.4 billion for research in key technology focus areas.
The measure now heads to the House. The White House supports the legislation.
Dive Brief:
  • Lawmakers are once again trying to expand the federal Pell Grant to job training programs of a shorter duration than are currently allowed.
  • The proposal is being added to Senate legislation that means to boost the country’s research presence and combat foreign influence, Politico reported Monday. It would allow students in career training programs of eight weeks or more to be eligible for the grants. The cap is currently 15 weeks.
  • Officials have moved several times to make Pell Grants less restrictive. But critics of the idea fear the aid will be used for low-quality programs.