Short-Term Limbo

The Job

Paul Fain
September 14, 2023
The U.S. House finds bipartisan common ground on bills to open up Pell Grants to short-term programs. The Senate is a different story in an unpredictable time for Washington. Also, the University of South Florida goes all in to build a new major with deep industry involvement and a focus on work experience.
What’s Next for Short-Term Pell?
The abrupt cancellation of a July committee markup in the U.S. Senate appears to have shelved legislation to open up federal Pell Grants to short-term education and training programs. But Washington is weird these days, so both advocates and critics are continuing to track short-term Pell bills.
“Things move really slowly until they happen immediately,” says Amy Laitinen, New America’s director for higher education, who has opposed the proposals. “We’re not letting our guard down.”
Observers across the spectrum agree that committee leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have reached agreement on some key sticking points, including on the always-contentious eligibility of for-profit providers. A bill from Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and the ranking member on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, would allow for-profits to participate if they clear several quality-assurance guardrails, including an earnings threshold.