Washington D.C. — Adult students, although they comprise the majority of the nation’s undergraduate population, are often overlooked in conversations about COVID-19 and higher education. A new column from the Center for American Progress outlines three ways Congress can help this key group, many of whom already faced hurdles to success pre-pandemic.
CAP’s recommendations include:
- Expanding the federal Pell Grant program to account for adult students’ nontuition expenses, such as textbooks, housing, and child care, at least doubling it and indexing it to inflation and allowing Pell Grant-eligible students to receive automatic approval for other means-tested programs
- Reforming the Federal Work-Study program by prioritizing allocations to community colleges instead of wealthy institutions, which serve few students from low-income backgrounds
- Passing the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act, introduced in March, which would provide better access to digital tools such as computers, modems, routers, Wi-Fi, and videoconferencing services and would prioritize those resources to institutions and students with the most need
Other sensible solutions include expanding the child and dependent tax credit to students with dependents; improving income-driven repayment plans to better reflect family composition; and ensuring that free college programs include adult and returning students. Overall, to support adult students, policymakers should be thinking ambitiously about rebuilding the higher education system around affordability, quality, and accountability to ensure better opportunity and quality of life in a post-pandemic America.
Click here to read: “3 Ways Congress Can Support Adult Students During COVID-19” by Marshall Anthony Jr.
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Morgan Finkelstein at gro.ssergorpnacirema@nietsleknifm.