The Impact of New Pell Grant Restrictions on Community Colleges: A Three State Study of Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi


From Fall 2011 to Fall 2012, enrollment declined at 47 of the 62 two-year colleges in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, and as shown below, changes in Pell Grant eligibility is the major reason why. This report argues that community college students in these three states are highly sensitive to changes in Pell Grant eligibility, and that new restrictions enacted by Congress in June 2012, effective with the Fall 2012 term, have had a dramatically negative impact.Issues of access to postsecondary education have long been an interest of the Education Policy Center at The University of Alabama. The Center has conducted 18 studies over the past five years on rural access issues, and its associates have been involved with numerous additional refereed publications on rural community college finance, STEM, students, and financial aid issues. It is most appropriate that we examine the impact of recent Pell Grant eligibility changes at community collegesin Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

This report was published in January, 2013, by the Education Policy Center at The University of Alabama.