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New Report Says Many Kentucky Pell Grant Recipients Fail To Graduate

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Federal Pell grants are offered to undergraduate university students in financial need. But even though these grants help pay for college, a report released in May says that less than half of recipients of Pell grants graduate. Theanalysis was done by the organization Third Way, a center-left think tank. The report analyzed graduation data from October 2017. 

“We see that less than half of Pell students who start, finish nationally," said Wesley Whistle, an education policy advisor at Third Way and a Kentuckian. "In Kentucky it was even worse. For all of the Pell students, only 40 percent of the Pell students who started finished.”

The maximum Pell grant award for the 2017-2018 academic year is just under $6,000. The report looked at the 2010 cohort of first-time, full-time students attending four-year institutions. The report analyzed graduation data released in October 2017.

Some Kentucky-specific findings:


  • Brescia University had the lowest Pell graduation rate in the Commonwealth only graduating 13 percent of its Pell students

  • The University of Phoenix-Kentucky didn’t fare much better with 17 percent of its Pell students graduating

  • Though 94 percent of the cohort studied at Berea College received Pell grants, their Pell graduation rate was 61 percent

  • Forty-nine percent of Pell students at the University of Louisville graduated

  • Centre College fared the best in Kentucky with nearly 80 percent of Pell recipients graduating

The report also analyzed the graduation rates of Pell students versus non-Pell students. You can read more of the report here.

Roxanne Scott covers education for WFPL News.

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