New Insights Into Attainment for Low-Income Students

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Center for American Progress


Recently released U.S. Department of Education data have revealed new insights into the college outcomes of low-income students. The new data offer some positive news—but they also present warning signs about just how poorly some sectors of higher education are serving students who receive the Pell Grant, the main federal grant offered to low-income students. On the good-news front, the data show that some nontraditional Pell recipients—particularly part-time transfer students—complete college at higher rates than their nontraditional peers who do not receive the grant. However, the data also reveal the cavernous gap that exists between the bachelor’s degree attainment rates of Pell and non-Pell students—more than 10 percentage points at public colleges and nearly 15 percentage points at private colleges.



low-income students, educational attainment, Pell grants, student financial aid