University and technology leaders have asked Congress to expand access to short-term pay grants to all online education programs, according to a letter sent to Congress on Monday.
The current version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act 2022, passed by the House, contains a proposal that would exclude short-term online training or part-time programs from being eligible for Pell grants.
The 14 organizations that signed the letter, including Skills First Coalition, IBM and multiple university leaders, argued that excluding short-term Pell access would exclude most adult students who see online learning as a more accessible alternative to continuing education or skills development. .
“We see a growing demand for online, high-quality skills training and certification programs that provide flexibility and relevance for employees and valuable learning outcomes by employers who are hiring. However, excluding online programs, language is a punishment, not a protection, for those students for whom online programs are the only access point to their education and training, “the letter said.
Short-term pay is a provision of the House-Passed Competitions Act that extends federal funding to programs under eight weeks. However, this current version of the law excludes online and for-profit programs from Pel’s new iteration.