Brief Simplifying Federal Student Aid: A Closer Look at Pell Formulas with Two Inputs
Kim S. Rueben, Sarah Gault, Sandy Baum
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This brief builds on work that examines replacing the current formula for calculating Pell grant eligibility with one that uses only a few family characteristics. Using data from the 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, we compare our original two-factor model with Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act legislation, both of which calculate grants based on income and family size. We address equity concerns for small families with children by exploring further changes to the formula. We can make aid more transparent and predictable for students before college enrollment and can address possible concerns raised from simplification with small tweaks.

Research Areas Education
Tags Higher education School funding Beyond high school: education and training Higher Education Act
Policy Centers Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center Center on Education Data and Policy