For Pell Grant recipients, where you go to college matters.

A lot At the national level, Pell grantees have lower graduation rates than beneficiaries who are not Pell grantees. After six years, only 49 percent of all full-time Pell Grant scholarships earned a bachelor’s degree from the college they started in, compared to 67 percent of those who did not receive Pell scholarships.

But there are some success stories. Of the schools listed in the Third Track report, 246 were identified as “High Quality Pell Service (PSI) Institutions,” where Pell Grant beneficiaries represent 37% or more of the student population and have a graduation rate of over 50 per cent. Some stand out in particular: 48 schools make up two-thirds or more of their Pell Grant recipients, well above the national average.

For example, at Howard University, a HBCU (College and Historically Black University), 91% of its students receive Pell scholarships and 79% graduate in six years. According to Howard University President Wayne Frederick, Howard has achieved this result because of an institutional commitment to need-based financial aid and targeted guidance programs.

Rowan University, an associate of KIPP College in New Jersey, enrolls 37% of Pell Grant beneficiaries and 66% of graduates on time. As part of an institutional commitment to support students from low-income families, Rowan created a campus food bank in response to research by students who identified food insecurity as a problem among the student body.

Some states have few colleges where students eligible for Pell scholarships thrive.

According to the data, some regions of the country are essentially “deserted” when it comes to finding a university that graduates a high percentage of Pell Grant beneficiaries. Seven states (Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut) do not have “high quality PSI” and Texas has only four statewide of 28 million people. This is important because most students end up attending college in the state in which they grow.

KIPP operates public high schools in Louisiana, Colorado and Texas, where we see firsthand the impact of this geographical disadvantage of the state. Fortunately, there are public schools in those states that are defying the odds. For example, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, with a 62% graduation rate from Pell, provides financial and logistical support to help low-income students persevere. CSU covers all tuition and fees for students eligible for Pell scholarships. CSU students receive academic, social-emotional, and housing support from an “academic contact,” which helps provide interventions when students appear to be behind schedule.

In Louisiana, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) is testing some new approaches to increasing graduation rates. In collaboration with the new nonprofit Belltower New Orleans, UL Lafayette offers low-income students an academic advisor, financial advisor, coordinated residential experience, work study, study, and a successful campus coach. of your Louisiana Pledge Program. Critically, UL Lafayette and Belltower also offer a scholarship for these students to cover the cost gap after their federal financial aid, Pell Grant and TOPS scholarships. As only has one semester, the program is still too new to see the results, but the approach is very promising.