Cutting Pell Grants for those with GEDs won't make America stronger

November 29, 2011

Thank you for Tami Luhby's thoughtful, yet distressing analysis of the stark differences in college graduation rates ("College gap widens between rich, poor," Nov 25).

Given the Census Bureau's new supplemental poverty measure that shows that 49.1 million Americans are poor (16.1 percent), the research Ms. Luhby cites from the Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin suggests that economic and social mobility by low and moderate income families will worsen.

Moreover, recent amendments to both House and Senate federal legislation seek to deny students who earn their GEDs from receiving Pell Grants to further their education and training. We need a smarter, better-trained workforce to begin restoring America's solvency and competitiveness.

Policymakers at all levels of government must help ensure economic security for all in our nation, especially those who are still trapped in the aftermath of the Great Recession. As Congress works (fingers crossed here) to resolve America's fiscal challenges, promoting more opportunity, generating new federal revenues, and closing corporate tax loopholes is reasonable and necessary.

Don Mathis, Washington

The writer is president and CEO of the Community Action Partnership.

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