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CommonSense Americans

Strongly Support Workforce Pell

Broad Endorsement of Greater Funding for Career-Connected Learning

Preliminary Results, 11/30/23, (910 Responses)

Robust Support for Career-Connected Learning


CommonSense Americans overwhelmingly endorse greater federal support for Career Connected Learning (CCL). The support is similarly high among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, although members of each party don’t recognize how much the other party agrees with them. They also strongly agree that the $7 billion in support given to the more than 60% of Americans who don’t attain a four-year degree is too little relative to the $110 billion in support for the fewer than 40% of Americans who do attain a four-year degree.

Republicans and Democrats both underestimate the other side’s support

GOP Perception of DEM Support

Actual DEM Support

DEM Perception of GOP Support

Actual GOP Support

Most Americans Believe Career-Connected Learning Gets Too Little Support Relative to College

Too Little


About Right


Too Much


Weighted average % results for too little/about right/too much

How $117B Dollars of Federal Support for Education and Training After High School are Spent

Overwhelming Majority Supports Workforce Pell

In the questionnaire related to the brief, CommonSense Americans were asked:

Do you support or oppose extending the Pell Grant program to cover short-term workforce education programs?

There is widespread agreement among everyday Americans that Workforce Pell is an appropriate way to increase support for those who would benefit most from workforce education programs. Again on the question of Workforce Pell, Americans don’t realize how much they agree that Workforce Pell would significantly boost thousands of Americans ability to attain higher paying and more meaningful jobs.

Republicans and Democrats both underestimate the other side’s support

GOP Perception of DEM Support

Actual DEM Support

DEM Perception of GOP Support

Actual GOP Support

Concern that Quality Requirements

May be Too High

Want Quality Requirements that Don’t Overly Limit Access

Strong Majorities Support Three of Five Approaches to Quality

Members of CommonSense American strongly agree that it’s crucial to ensure that Pell Grants only support programs that cost-effectively place them higher paying jobs. Strong majorities support outcome performance requirements, administrative approval criteria, and requiring that career-connected learning programs can count for additional credentialing in the future. Considered in isolation from other quality requirement, opinions about excluding for-profits is much more divided. There is wide opposition to excluding totally online programs for Workforce Pell eligibility.

Outcome Performance Requirements

Support for Job Placement Rate Requirement

Slightly More Support for 60% than 70% Completion and Job Placement Rates

Outcome Performance Requirements

Strong Support for Earnings Requirements

Do you support or oppose establishing minimum earnings requirements?

Evenly Divided Views About Requirements Beyond the Gainful Employment Rule

Do you support or oppose establishing minimum earnings requirements beyond the new?

Gainful Employment Rule – About Right

Do you think that the new Gainful Employment rule is too stringent, about right, or too lax?

To Lax


About Right


Too Stringent


Support for Adding Earnings Requirements Beyond Gainful Employment Rule

If adding earnings requirements beyond Gainful Employment Rule, strongest support for a hybrid of PELL Act and Jobs to Compete Act

Administrative Approval Criteria

76% Think There Should be No More than 5 Administrative Criteria

What do you think is the maximum number of the seven administrative criteria that should be used to have the best balance between quality and access?

No More than 5 Administrative Criteria

Ranked Administrative Criteria

Ranked from 1 (best) to 7 (worst)

Rank Order Criteria Average Rank
1 Meets applicable state requirements for professional licensure (Criteria 4) 2.48
2 Leads to a federally recognized postsecondary credential (Criteria 1) 2.60
3 At least half of the tuition and fees go to educational spending (Criteria 7) 3.00
4 Offered by an institution on the state and local Eligible Training Provider List (Criteria 2) 3.06
5 Administrative determination that the program provides training in “high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industry sectors or occupations for the state and local area (Criteria 3) 3.59
6 No administrative adverse action in past five years (Criteria 5) 3.74
7 Provides Career Counseling (Criteria 6) 4.01