- On average, top-quartile schools take in 29.3% Pell, while bottom-quartile schools take in 48.6% Pell.
- Among the 81 schools in which at least half of the student body received Pell grants, only three are in the top quartile of our mobility ranking, and just 14 are in the top half.
- Of the 252 four-year public institutions that have Pell enrollment greater than the mean (38.2%):
- Only 41 schools (16.3%) graduated at least half of their first-time, full-time students within six years;
- Only 43 schools (17.1%) saw more than two-thirds of their loan-holding students earning more than a high school graduate six years after enrollment; and,
- A mere 91 schools (36.1%) have loan repayment rates above the average (77.8%) three years out.
Schools that take in high shares of students coming from low- and moderate-income backgrounds e outcomes as schools who take in only a handful of low-income students each year. That principle guides the way we distribute federal resources to K-12 schools through Title I funding, which is intended to support schools with higher concentrations of students in poverty. And while colleges that are willing to take in a high proportion of Pell students deserve support and recognition if they are delivering good outcomes for those students, we must also ensure institutions are not making this population of students worse off by saddling them with debt and no degree to show for it.
There are notable exceptions.
Luckily there are a number of high-quality public institutions showing that success is possible by achieving good outcomes with a high proportion of Pell students.