Pell Grants are the cornerstone of federal financial aid for low-income students enrolled in postsecondary education. Between 2012 and 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) conducted pilots of two experimental expansions to Pell Grant eligibility. The first experiment allowed income-eligible students with a bachelor's degree, not normally eligible for Pell Grants, to obtain them for short-term occupational training programs. The second experiment allowed income-eligible students to obtain Pell Grants for very short-term programs lasting as little as eight weeks, under the normal minimum of 15 weeks of instruction. This report presents the findings from a study that tested whether these experimental expansions to Pell Grant eligibility were effective. Both pilots improved enrollment in and completion of postsecondary programs, a first step toward improving individuals' success in the labor market. However, the labor market returns from the two experiments and how these compare to the cost of expanding Pell Grant eligibility—about $1,800 per student in this study—remain important open questions for the future.
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