In Debate, Romney Voices Support For Expanding Pell Grant Program

In the second presidential debate, on Tuesday night, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney offered some of his most explicit support yet for the Pell Grant program, while President Obama touted several of his administration’s achievements that affect higher education.

The first question in the town hall-style debate came from 20-year-old Jeremy Epstein, a junior at Adelphi University. Addressing Mr. Romney, Mr. Epstein asked about his job prospects as a college student who will graduate in 2014. Mr. Romney responded by saying he would seek to make college more affordable and ensure that students like Mr. Epstein had jobs when they graduated.

“I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program growing,” he said. Mr. Romney also touted a merit scholarship he instituted as governor of Massachusetts; the scholarship waives tuition at the state’s public colleges for students who achieve high scores on a standardized test.

Mr. Romney’s remarks about the Pell Grant program reflected his evolution over the past several months on the issue. In a policy document released in May, Mr. Romney’s campaign said that the program was on an unsustainable path and pledged to “refocus Pell dollars on the students that need them most and place the program on a responsible long-term path that avoids future funding cliffs and last-minute funding patches.”

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