Washington, D.C. — U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Director for Higher Education Policy, Policy, and Strategy (HEPCS) John Biederman today announced the following changes to the Higher Education Access Act (HEA), which will take effect in 2021.
The changes include: · Under the HEA, students must have a postsecondary credential from a U. S. institution to qualify for financial aid.
The goal is to increase the number of postsecondary institutions to ensure access to the nation’s highest-quality education for all students.
· The HEA allows eligible students to use the federal Pell Grant, the only federal aid available to students without a post-secondary credential, to finance their education.
The new policy allows for an increase in Pell Grant recipients to more than 5 percent, to a total of $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
· Under current law, only qualified postsecondary students can receive Pell Grants.
This is a major step toward providing access to postsecondary education for those who need it most.
The HEAP has long been a critical piece of federal education policy.
Under the previous administration, the HEAP was eliminated by President George W. Bush.
But under the Trump Administration, HEAP funding has been renewed through 2021.
· Pell Grants will be available for students who meet specific criteria to receive financial aid, including graduating with a bachelor’s degree from a recognized postsecondary institution.
The criteria are based on an individualized assessment that students make at each step of the application process, including: · The applicant’s educational goals; · Financial need; · Academic ability; and · Experience in a postindustrial workforce.
· Students who do not meet the criteria will be ineligible for Pell Grants beginning in 2021 and continuing until all eligibility criteria have been met.
· For those students who do meet the eligibility criteria, the maximum Pell Grant award for their college is $4,500, but students who fail to meet those criteria will not receive the maximum award.
In addition, applicants who have already received Pell Grants or are eligible for them will be eligible for a Pell Grant of up to $5,000 for the first three years after graduation.
The maximum Pell Award for an undergraduate student at an accredited four-year college is currently $7,500.
The Pell Grant program has also been expanded to cover students who need more than two years of post-graduation work experience.
For example, if an undergraduate with no post-graduate work experience works as a janitor for a small local company for two years, he or she may be eligible to receive an award of up a maximum of $6,500 for three years.
Students who receive Pell Grant awards will be able to apply for more money for college if they meet the pre-requisite criteria for financial need, experience in a community that is growing, and the employer of their choice has approved their application.
The Administration is continuing to support postsecondary colleges and universities in their efforts to expand access to higher education.
· With these new changes, students and families will now have the opportunity to pursue higher education at the local, state, or federal level without the fear of losing a Pell grant or losing their home, car, or other financial security.
More: http://www.ed.gov/dol/HEAP/2020-21st-annual-budget-summary/summary-summary.htm ____________________________________________ The Washington Post is committed to fair and balanced coverage of the news and issues of the day.
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