Pell grants: Comparing candidates' comments against the record

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and President Barack Obama talk to each other during a town hall style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York.

One issue that didn’t come up much in the debate last night was education. Though, both candidates touched on the issue of college affordability.

Governor Romney said as president he would protect the federal Pell grant program for low-income students, saying "I want to make sure we keep our Pell — Pell Grant program growing."

The declaration was a surprise to some people as the federal budget written by Romney’s running mate Congressman Paul Ryan would make far fewer students eligible for Pell grants.

Mark Kantrowitz, who publishes the financial aid website Finaid.org, says, "It seems to be in conflict with his prior statements. My guess is he’s being careful in his choice of words."

Meanwhile, President Obama talked up his own record on Pell, saying "We’ve expanded Pell grants for millions of people, including millions of young women, all across the country."

That’s true, Kantrowitz says, but he paid for it in part by eliminating the year-round Pell grant that helped low-income students attend summer school.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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