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New Report Shows Troubling Outcomes for Short-Term-Education Programs

Mar 3, 2021 | Other Spending

Yesterday, New America published a new report by Monique O. Ositelu measuring employment outcomes of students who obtained short-term-education credentials. The report raises important questions on the merit of a popular Pell Grant expansion proposal.

The report shows that many short-term credentials are unlikely to pay off, with over half of those employed earning less than $30,000 a year and 18 percent earning less than $10,000. The report also shows significant disparities in outcomes for women and Black and Latino adults. The report also found that around 40 percent of adults with short-term certificates were not employed.

The piece raises serious questions about the wisdom of expanding Pell to these short-term programs.

As we showed recently, the Pell grant program now faces large deficits in the years ahead.  While the program currently has $12 billion worth of reserves, those reserves are projected to disappear by 2026. The program faces a cumulative deficit of $18 billion by 2031.

Given the potential cost of short-term Pell and the coming shortfall, policymakers should be very cautious when considering that policy or any other expansion to Pell without fully funding the program. And they should be doubly cautious about short-term Pell in light of the new analysis of short-term programs.

You can read the full New America analysis here.