Lawmakers pushing for a dramatic change to the federal Pell Grant program have for months sought to placate liberal critics by arguing that new money wouldn’t go to for-profit colleges.

Legislation dubbed the JOBS Act would expand eligibility for Pell money to programs as short as eight weeks that are designed to land students employment quickly, stirring a debate over whether the funding should be directed toward job training rather than traditional college programs.

While CECU has promised to push back on the for-profit ban in the JOBS Act, many larger proprietary institutions have focused their attention elsewhere as talks over a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act unfold. One reason is that the biggest players in for-profit education aren’t necessarily heavily involved in short-term training. Another is that the JOBS Act is only one potential piece of an overhaul to the landmark federal higher ed law being negotiated by lawmakers. Another involves the federal 90-10 rule — a much bigger concern for those colleges. That rule caps the proportion of total revenue proprietary colleges can receive from federal financial aid at 90 percent.

Student veteran groups have made tightening 90-10 a top priority for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Veterans’ and military education benefits aren’t counted toward the rule, and those groups argue that veterans are targeted by for-profit colleges for enrollment as a result. Veterans’ organizations were also among the most vocal opponents of the PROSPER Act, a 2017 GOP proposal to reauthorize HEA that would have done away with 90-10 entirely.

Read the full story at IHE, “Could For-Profit Question Impede Short-Term Pell?,” published August 15, 2019.