Warner, Portman call for improvement of Pell dual enrollment program

mark warnerU.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to urge the Trump administration to consider expanding the dual enrollment Pell experiment to meet the goal of 10,000 participating low-income high school students.

Under the Department’s experiment, a limited number of high school students taking college-credit courses have access for the first time to federal Pell Grants. One of the participating sites is Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Sen. Warner visited CVCC earlier this year and heard firsthand from students, teachers, and administrators involved with the dual enrollment program about the program’s success.

In addition to assessing whether the experiment is on-track to have 10,000 participating students—and, if not, considering accepting another round of applications—the letter from Sens. Warner and Portman also raises two funding issues that were discussed on the visit and recommends potential solutions.

“Central Virginia Community College and other institutions participating in the Department’s experiment continue advancing our understanding of how best to implement dual enrollment programs that access Pell Grant funding,” said Sen. Warner. “We should take every opportunity to harness their experience and expertise to better meet the needs of students who may apply for similar programs in the future.”

“The cost of college tuition and fees continue to rise, and early college high schools can play a critical role in helping students get head start on college,” said Sen. Portman.  “I strongly support expanding access to programs that help students get college credit while in high school.  I will also continue to push for our bipartisan legislation ‘Go to High School, Go to College’ to make this pilot permanent and provide more options for college to low-income students.”

Sens. Warner and Portman have championed legislation that would permanently expand Pell Grant eligibility to early college high school students, and led efforts to expand access to dual and concurrent enrollment in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

A copy of the Senators’ letter is available here.

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