restricted access Federal Financial Aid Policy: The Case of the Pell Grant Quality Control Study

Financial aid is the major federal legislative program for postsecondary education. Administration of the program has become increasingly complex as the accompanying law has changed. A major study (“The QC Report”) was undertaken to determine the extent of fraud and mismanagement in the program. The Report, detailing allegations of “substantial dollar error,” was widely cited by the Administration as evidence for an overhauling of the program. This article examines carefully the allegations and methodology of the Report, and concludes that the errors alleged were insubstantial and that the Report was used as a semantic tool in the larger policy debate over the role of government in education.