Tuesday, November 4, 2008

EMPA 302: Final Paper

From the initial public demand to the ongoing debate of Pell Grants, this program, an addition to the Higher Education Act, shows an eclectic range of policy elements. The money used to help financially strained students afford a college education has met, and continues to meet, fierce controversy. The ability for this policy to weather constant scrutiny throughout the process is a tribute to the public and political factors that support it so diligently. Examining these factors reveals much about the workings of government, and evaluating the policy’s implementation and its effects raises critical questions for the future of this admirable program.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 was initially the continuation of the National Defense Education Act of 1958, (Rudy 87). It had two goals. The first was “to upgrade education in mathematics and the natural sciences. The second goal, which was specified in Title VI of the legislation, was to improve training in foreign languages,” (Rudy 87). In 1972, a Democratic-controlled Congress addressed the reauthorization. Senator Pell led the fight against President Nixon’s opposition to direct aid of tuition and “basic grants” were amended into the bill, (Rudy 121). Today, these “basic grants” are now known as Pell Grants and award up to $4,731 per year to needy students as determined by the results of their Free Application for Student Aid, or FAFSA, (Ed.gov).
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