Taking into account low- and middle-income students only, Pell Grant recipients were less well prepared academically than their counterparts who did not receive a Pell Grant. Among students enrolled at 4-year institutions, Pell Grant recipients were more likely than nonrecipients to have SAT I (or equivalent ACT) scores that fell in the lowest quartile and less likely to have completed a rigorous curriculum while in high school. Those attending less-than-4-year institutions were less likely than nonrecipients to have received a high school diploma (i.e., they did not graduate or they finished high school with a GED or high school completion certificate). Low- and middle-income Pell Grant recipients attending less-than-4-year institutions differed in some respects from nonrecipients in their educational objectives. Recipients at public 2-year institutions were more likely than nonrecipients to be pursuing an associate’s degree and less likely to be working toward a vocational certificate. Pell Grant recipients enrolled at private for-profit less-than-4-year institutions were more likely than nonrecipients to be pursuing no degree and less likely to be pursuing a vocational certificate.
Pell Grant recipients enrolled at public 2-year institutions also were more likely than nonrecipients to enroll full time and less likely to work while enrolled. This may be due in part to the Pell Grant program’s requirements. Both part-time attendance and income earned from employment can decrease eligibility for a Pell Grant.