NAICU Washington Update

Department of Education Announces Dual Enrollment Pell Grant Recipients

May 25, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that 44 postsecondary institutions across 23 states will be invited to participate in an experimental program which, for the first time, allows students taking college-credit courses to access federal Pell Grants as early as high school. The program is expected to offer as many as 10,000 students access to as much as $20 million in federal grants to participate in dual enrollment courses provided by colleges and high schools throughout the nation. The program had been announced in a notice in the Federal Register in November 2015.

The program is authorized to operate under the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI) of the Higher Education Act. Under the ESI, the Secretary has authority to grant waivers from certain Title IV HEA statutory or regulatory requirements to allow a limited number of institutions to participate in experiments to test alternative methods for administering the Title IV programs. The postsecondary institutions invited to participate will be provided a waiver of the specific statutory and regulatory provisions that prevent students who are enrolled in secondary school from receiving Pell Grants for enrollment in Title IV-eligible postsecondary programs. This experiment will examine the extent to which waiving the restrictions on providing Pell Grants to secondary school students increases low-income student participation in dual enrollment.

Many of the approved programs share some key features designed to make students successful in college and career, including:

  • Academic preparation and credit accumulation;
  • Advising and other support services;
  • Pathways to further their studies; and
  • Providing a teaching foundation for STEM and aligning programs and curricula with workforce needs.

Under the experiment, the student and the postsecondary program in which the student enrolls must meet all other Title IV eligibility requirements in order for the student to receive a Pell Grant. Approximately 80% of the participating programs are administered by community colleges.

For a list of other experimental programs under operation or planning by the Department, please visit their experimental sites website.