The Pell Grant Poll Tax

Tressie McMillan Cottom:

$5,785 may not do much for you at Duke where tuition exceeds $50,000 a year. But, it can put a serious dent in the tuition at Durham Tech Community College (approx. $13,000). With some state aid, institutional aid, and some luck a student might be able to get some of that workforce training everyone from the President of the United States and all the captains of the private sector claim we need.
Pell grants help poor students overcome the consequences of choosing to be born to parents without means.
For almost the entire history of higher education in this country, college was for the sons (and much later the daughters) of wealthy families. The GI Bill created a national model for distributing aid to students without the benefit of inter-generational wealth to go to college.
But, the GI Bill was not evenly or fairly distributed. Despite the disproportionate number of black men and women who served in the military two decades after it was integrated, black folks had a hard time getting the aid they’d been promised.