Since 1973, the Federal Pell Grant program has been making college education possible for millions of first-generation, low-income students. The program has not been without its challenges, however: a large number of Pell students fall into the degree attainment gap, failing to earn a credential.
It’s important to note that the degree completion problem is not unique to low-income students. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that only 60 percent of college students complete their degree.
But the completion gap affects Pell Grant recipients, many of whom fall below the poverty line, even more. According to a 2015 report by The Education Trust, low-income students nationally are 14 percent less likely to attain a degree than their wealthier peers. In fact, just 51 percent of Pell grantees complete their degree.