The Trump administration is considering extending eligibility for the Pell grant to a wider range of higher education programs, as well as a new crop of college scholarships, in an effort to ease overcrowding and address the country’s rising costs.
The White House on Monday released a list of 25 colleges that would receive new eligibility under the 2017 Department of Education’s new Pell program, which includes schools that serve students from low-income families.
The list is intended to give schools more flexibility to expand enrollment, which has been struggling with enrollment growth in recent years.
But critics argue that it only covers the top 50 percent of eligible colleges, which include schools that are mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, such as Northeastern University, Penn State University and Northeastern State University.
“They’re only interested in these very affluent universities,” said Chris Rucker, the chief executive officer of the Association of College and University Business Officers, a non-profit that represents colleges.
The program was created by President Trump to help students from poor families attend elite colleges.
But critics say the new list ignores the many other institutions that are in the pipeline that have similar enrollment growth, and that they can’t easily be targeted because they are only part of the broader college market.
The federal Pell program allows families to apply to a wide range of public and private programs, including federal grants and loans.
Some schools are eligible for up to $2,600 per year for up a year, while others are eligible only for up the first year.
The Department of the Treasury said in a statement Monday that it was considering expanding the program to include a new round of federal Pell grants to all institutions eligible for federal financial aid, and to all eligible colleges for up two years.
“The goal of these efforts is to provide Pell-eligible students with more options and opportunities for financial aid,” the statement said.
“We recognize that the Pell Grant Program is not an entitlement program for everyone.
Some families may qualify for Pell Grant but may not receive it due to financial hardships.
In addition, we recognize that some colleges may be in need of additional resources.”
The program will be open for three years.
The president has proposed extending the program for another three years, but Congress has yet to act on the proposal.