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Registration opens at 9:00 AM, the event will begin at 9:30.
The Pell Grant program is the cornerstone of federal financial aid. It has helped millions of students, who would not have gone to college without it. But because the government's cost of financing Pell Grants has skyrocketed in recent years, the program is on a perilous path.
Last year, the Obama administration and Congress were repeatedly forced to take emergency actions in the heat of high-stakes budget battles to try to shore up the program's funding—including narrowing eligibility for the awards and making the program less generous by, for example, ending students' ability to obtain grants to attend summer school. Even with those cuts, however, the Pell Grant program is facing yet another major funding cliff in 2014, when the one-time supplemental funding Congress provided last summer to keep the program afloat will run out.
Clearly, policymakers need to take action. But the conversation surrounding Pell should not just be about cutting costs or re-directing funding from other education programs. It should also be about making the program both financially sustainable in the long-term and more effective at helping low-income students earn college degrees.
At this event, student aid experts discussed the future of Pell Grants and shared their ideas for restructuring the program so that it can more effectively carry out the mission it was created to serve: eliminating the cost barriers that all too often keep low-income students from graduating from college.
Jason Delisle, director of the Federal Education Budget Project at the New America Foundation
Jon Oberg, former higher education researcher at the U.S. Department of Education
José Cruz, vice president for higher education policy and practice at Education Trust
Sarah Flanagan, vice president for government relations at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Stephen Burd (as moderator), Senior Policy Analyst at Education Sector
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