Publication | October 18, 2022

Pell Access and Completion Series | Part IV: Working with Pell Grant Completion Data

New series highlights baseline statistics on access to the federal Pell Grant program and completion rates for U.S. higher education institutions by three sectors—community colleges, non-profit institutions, and for-profit colleges.

The Pell Grant is targeted to students with the greatest financial need, and many policymakers find the Pell Grant a useful policy lever for promoting access and success for students from lower- and moderate-income backgrounds. There are several examples where policymakers use Pell eligibility to allocate resources and hold colleges accountable for their outcomes; however, basic information about Pell access and completion is not well documented in policy research. To address this problem — and to provide baseline statistics useful in policy conversations — this analysis provides information about the data sources used throughout the creation of the series and seeks to highlight potential improvements on data collection in the field.

The fourth and final piece of TICAS’ series on Pell Grant access and completion, this brief presents an overview of reporting process for the whole series. It reviews the use of College Scorecard and IPEDS Outcome Measures (OM), followed by a review of missing data, and concludes with a comparison of completion rates using both data sources.