WASHINGTON — Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) has taken some heat back home for comparing Pell Grants to being on the dole. The congressman, who’s running for Senate in 2012, is now attempting to clarify his comments and stating that he never meant to portray low-income students as welfare recipients.
The controversy stems from an April 1 radio interview, during which Rehberg decried the fact that students who receive Pell Grants don’t have any sort of graduation requirement and could go straight from the education grant to receiving federal food aid.
“You can go to college on Pell Grants — maybe I should not be telling anybody this because it’s turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century,” the congressman said in an interview with Blog Talk Radio. “You can go to school, collect your Pell Grants, get food stamps, low-income energy assistance, Section 8 housing, and all of a sudden we find ourselves subsidizing people that don’t have to graduate from college. And there ought to be some kind of commitment and endgame.”