The Other ‘Pell Runners’

According to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the U.S. Department of Education is planning to crack down on "Pell runners." A Pell runner is "a scam artist who bounces from college to college, staying just long enough to receive a Pell Grant refund," the newspaper reports.

The Education Department is absolutely correct to go after these individuals. Their actions not only hurt the federal fisc, but, if left unchecked, could undermine public and political support for this vital program over the long run.

There is, however, another group of "Pell runners" who may be even doing greater damage to the program’s long-term viability, but are coming under far less scrutiny. We are talking about public and private four year colleges that receive large amounts of Pell Grant funds but use their institutional aid dollars to attract the students they desire, rather than to meet the financial need of the low-income students they enroll.

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