Tackling the challenge of persistence among Pell Grant recipients

By Tania Nguyen

The estimated national six-year graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients is 51%, compared to 64% for non-Pell students. This achievement gap persists at even highly selective institutions. As the Enrollment Management Forum reported earlier, for the first time ever the federal government released institution-specific Pell student four- and six-year completion rates. As a result, institutions can expect to face mounting public scrutiny over outcomes and their ability to serve low-income students.

Balancing mission and constrained financial aid budgets has spurred innovation by some institutions to target grants to at-risk low-income students with high demonstrated performance. In 2014, Seattle University's Enrollment Services piloted "The Challenge Grant" to promote persistence among the most at-risk segments of its Pell student population.

The majority of students who don’t persist cite financial reasons. Learn how you can nudge students toward better financial decisions to improve student success. Learn more.

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