Pell Grant scams high school students

Last week, the Department invited 44 postsecondary institutions to participate in an experiment that — for the first time — allows students taking college-credit courses to access federal Pell Grants as early as high school.  As part of the experiment, an estimated 10,000 high school students will have the opportunity to access approximately $20 million in Pell Grants to take dual enrollment courses provided by colleges and high schools throughout the nation.  About 80% of the selected sites are community colleges.
Dual enrollment, in which high school students enroll in postsecondary coursework, is a promising approach to improve academic outcomes for students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds.  During the 2010-11 academic year, more than 1.4 million high school students took courses offered by a college or university for credit through dual enrollment.  A growing body of research suggests that participation in dual enrollment can lead to better grades in high school, increased enrollment in college after high school, higher rates of persistence in college, greater credit accumulation, and increased rates of credential attainment.  Yet, cost can be a barrier.  At nearly half of the postsecondary institutions with dual enrollment programs, most students pay out of pocket to attend.
Under the experimental sites authority of the Higher Education Act, the Secretary is waiving existing federal aid rules that prohibit high school students from accessing Pell Grants.  Through this experiment, the Department hopes to learn about the impact of providing earlier access to financial aid on low-income students’ college access, participation, and success (fact sheet).

Kids can already get College Credit in High School for free.

One of the biggest perks of AP classes is that you can get college credit as long as you score well on the AP Exam at the end of the semester. AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. Many colleges accept a score of 4 or 5 on an AP exam as college credit in that subject area. In some cases, even a 3 is accepted for college credit.
While most colleges accept AP credits, there’s definitely a difference in how strict the requirements are. About 58% of public colleges give credit for a score of 3; meanwhile, only 33% of private colleges accept this score. The more selective an institution is, the more likely they are to require higher AP scores in order to receive college credit. For example, the highly selective Northwestern University only accepts a 3 in one course (AP chemistry) – a 4 or a 5 is required in other AP courses. Meanwhile, University of Wisconsin, Madison accepts a score of 3 on all AP exams.
Wondering if your dream school accepts AP classes for credit? Check out the CollegeBoard database on AP credit policy info. You can search through hundreds of schools’ AP credit policies with the click of a mouse.

AP Classes for College Credit: Quick Facts

  • There are 34 AP courses covering everything from Chinese Language and Culture to Psychology. Talk to your guidance counselor to find out which AP classes your high school offers.
  • You don’t have to take the AP class to take an AP exam. If you feel like you’re really knowledgeable in a certain area, you can sit for the AP exam. If your scores meet your college’s standards, you can receive college credit even though you didn’t take the test.
  • There are lots of options for students who get college credit for AP exam scores besides saving on tuition – you can graduate from college early, take more upper-level courses, pursue a double major or even study abroad.