North Carolina Central Wants to Be a Guinea Pig for Pell Grant Reform

Sunders-WhiteDeborah Saunders-White, chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham, has sent a request to the U.S. Department of Education asking that the university serve as an experimental site for possible reforms in the federal Pell Grant system.

Dr. Saunders-White has proposed that NCCU experiment with a performance-based Pell Grant system where students would be given an incentive to complete their education in four years. At the current time, students are eligible to receive Pell Grants for up to six years. About three quarters of the undergraduate student body at NCCU qualifies for federal Pell Grants.

The proposal will probably get serious consideration because before Dr. Saunders-White became chancellor at NCCU, she was deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Saunders-White joined the Department of Education in 2011. Previously, she was vice chancellor for information technology systems at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. From 1999 to 2006, she served on the administration at Hampton University in Virginia as assistant vice provost for technology and later as vice president for technology and chief information officer.

A native of Hampton, Virginia, Dr. Saunders-White is a graduate of the University of Virginia. She holds an MBA from the College of William and Mary and a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University.

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