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# The current administration and Congress have once again

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01 Jul 2008, 12:51
My take on why D is the right choice:

The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

Since the question concerns an argument, let us restate the argument in our own words to see which statement below weakens it most:
Premise 1: Pell grant spending has decreased/will not rise
Premise 2: Pell grants improve access to higher education and help poor people elevate themselves to middle class
Conclusion: Without enough Pell grants, the gap between rich and poor will widen and the stability of democracy will decrease.

A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.
This seems correct because it weakens the conclusion a great deal. The conclusion states that the gap will widen without enough Pell grants, because Pell grants improve access to higher ed for disadvantaged students. This statement here says that spending on programs for improving higher ed will INCREASE, which weakens the need for Pell grants, but does not address the conclusion enough. Remember, the conclusion is saying "PELL GRANTS CAN SAVE US", and this doesn't attack the conclusion enough. If option D did not exist I would go for A...

B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.
Incorrect in my opinion because there seems to be an issue with a SHORTAGE of Pell grants. Say there were 100 Pell grants issued last year, but a demand for 1000 (think of it like securing a spot at H/S/W ). Lets say next year also 100 Pell grants were issued, but there was demand for 1100. Since grants are usually in low supply and very high demand, I dont think the issue that the neediest candidates don't know enough about it is the biggest problem. Sure, it may be a problem, but the biggest problem is that there are not enough Pell grants available to satisfy demand.

C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.
Don't see how this could apply...

D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.
Perfectly addresses the conclusion. Pell grants alone cannot decrease the "widening of the gap between the rich and poor in this country" because they only cover 15% of the full cost. How on earth could a poor person so far divided from the rich afford to attend college for 4 years on a measly 15% discount? I was previously sold on A, but now I vote for D.

E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget.
Incorrect. If the total budget goes down from $1000 to$10 and the % for education goes up from 5% to 90%, we would actually be spending less than last year.
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01 Jul 2008, 19:55
vdhawan1 wrote:
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.
B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.
C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.
D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.
E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget.

Good one..lets discuss it

Premise: Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society
Conclusion :Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.
D- brings in new evidence that exposes the faulty assumption.Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.
This amount cannot really bridge teh gap between the rich and the poor

Choices A,B,C,E - supportteh assumption that Pell grants can reduce the gap between ....
Only D weakens the conclusion by exposing a faulty assumption.
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02 Jul 2008, 00:11
vdhawan1 wrote:
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.
B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.
C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.
D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.
E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget.

Good one..lets discuss it

The argument says that the grant is necessary to help recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. without this grant, the stability of the democracy is threatened.

we are looking for an answer that proves that even with the access to the grant, the situation is not going to change. B does that. It tells us that the neediest candidates don't even know that they are eligible for such grants. So, even if the congress increases the grant, it's not going to change the condition of the needy.
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02 Jul 2008, 00:12

This is my line of thought.

The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. BUT option D says - On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.. Which means that even if it is reduced it is not going to have any material impact hence it weakens the argument. Hence D should be the answer
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02 Jul 2008, 00:38
I go with A..
Actually A & D are close,but A is specific to disadvantaged students

Looks like weve seen this question last month, but cant recollect the answer..
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02 Jul 2008, 06:45
Dhawan..Buddy its time to post the OA.
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02 Jul 2008, 14:48
I just googled the question, and found it discussed on two message boards (one was ScoreTop, so I went to the ManhattanGMAT one instead). The OA is indeed A. D cannot be the correct answer here, incidentally. That "Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged" is presented as a factual premise of the argument, not as its conclusion.

I don't much like the question for two reasons:

-the argument has more than one conclusion ("Cutting Pell grants will prevent the disadvantaged from receiving higher education"; "If the disadvantaged don't get access to higher education, the gap between rich and poor will widen"; "If the gap between rich and poor widens, the stability of democracy will be strained").

-since Pell grants and the cost of US education are likely better known to US test-takers than to others, the question invites a different amount of personal input from different test-taking populations. Those who know the expense of US higher education are likely to be more tempted by D than those who do not. One of the purposes of including the many diagnostic questions, the questions which don't count, on real GMATs is to identify whether questions are 'biased'-- that is, whether certain populations answer questions better than other populations do. In the research language, the questions are examined for 'differential impact'. Questions which show significant bias are either rejected or modified. The US and non-US test-taking populations are certainly examined in these differential impact studies; GMAC has published research papers about this.
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09 Jul 2008, 05:40
OA is A from old posts.

11-t33756?hilit=Pell+grants
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09 Jul 2008, 05:57
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I got A as well. I think what threw a few people off is not identifying the correct conclusion.

"Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.'

If we look earlier in the argument we see that "access" is to higher education and not Pell grants. Pell grants are just one method of providing access to higher education for the disadvantaged.

So our conclusion is that not providing access to higher education will widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

A says that while we may not be increasing Pell grants (remember just one method of access for the disadvantaged), we are increasing total spending (access) to the disadvantaged.
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09 Jul 2008, 06:13
IMO it should be A or C.

the problem in A is that it only speaks about next year where as the argument talks abount giving higher education to underprivileged as a whole.

The problem in C is the assumption "urban communities".

C looks more convincing.
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09 Jul 2008, 06:33
neeshpal wrote:
IMO it should be A or C.

the problem in A is that it only speaks about next year where as the argument talks abount giving higher education to underprivileged as a whole.

The problem in C is the assumption "urban communities".

C looks more convincing.

A specifically says 'access to higher education for disadvantaged students'. If you look again at the conclusion you'll see this is exactly what we need to refute to weaken the conclusion.

C says they will increase AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS in URBAN COMMUNITIES.

1) After school programs are for high school and below and do not help to provide access to higher education.
2) Assuming that urban communities are disadvantaged is stereotypical and usually not socially acceptable. Urban simply means the city as compared to a rural area or suburban.
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09 Jul 2008, 15:50
But guys, I honestly don't like this question and I don't think it's representative of the actual gmat question. The usual answers to the CR questions will NEVER contradict the premise, something that answer choice A did in this question. The weakening or strengthening answers usually address the conclusion or the logical flow of the argument from the premise to the conclusion.

In CR, one should always treat the premise as true. One should only challenge whether the logical flaw from the premise to the conclusion is appropriate. In the weakening question, we could have an extra information that could make the conclusion doubtful...but to pick an answer choice that simply contradicts a premise in the argument is just simply wrong and not the correct way to tackle CR questions!
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09 Jul 2008, 16:42
tarek99 wrote:
But guys, I honestly don't like this question and I don't think it's representative of the actual gmat question. The usual answers to the CR questions will NEVER contradict the premise, something that answer choice A did in this question. The weakening or strengthening answers usually address the conclusion or the logical flow of the argument from the premise to the conclusion.

In CR, one should always treat the premise as true. One should only challenge whether the logical flaw from the premise to the conclusion is appropriate. In the weakening question, we could have an extra information that could make the conclusion doubtful...but to pick an answer choice that simply contradicts a premise in the argument is just simply wrong and not the correct way to tackle CR questions!

I agree with all you're saying, except with respect to this particular question- answer choice A does not contradict any of the premises of the argument. The argument says Pell grants are being cut, but nowhere does it mention other government funding for education.
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10 Jul 2008, 03:27
IanStewart wrote:
tarek99 wrote:
But guys, I honestly don't like this question and I don't think it's representative of the actual gmat question. The usual answers to the CR questions will NEVER contradict the premise, something that answer choice A did in this question. The weakening or strengthening answers usually address the conclusion or the logical flow of the argument from the premise to the conclusion.

In CR, one should always treat the premise as true. One should only challenge whether the logical flaw from the premise to the conclusion is appropriate. In the weakening question, we could have an extra information that could make the conclusion doubtful...but to pick an answer choice that simply contradicts a premise in the argument is just simply wrong and not the correct way to tackle CR questions!

I agree with all you're saying, except with respect to this particular question- answer choice A does not contradict any of the premises of the argument. The argument says Pell grants are being cut, but nowhere does it mention other government funding for education.

yeah it does....look at the first sentence of the argument:

"The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget"

and what does option A say?:

"Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget."

my question is, even if the increase did take place, it doesn't address whether the gap between the rich and poor will increase nor whether the stability of the democracy will be strained. Also, option A is basically trying to say that one of the premises mentioned in the argument was a lie....that's not the way to tackle CR questions.
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10 Jul 2008, 04:39
tarek99 wrote:
IanStewart wrote:
tarek99 wrote:
But guys, I honestly don't like this question and I don't think it's representative of the actual gmat question. The usual answers to the CR questions will NEVER contradict the premise, something that answer choice A did in this question. The weakening or strengthening answers usually address the conclusion or the logical flow of the argument from the premise to the conclusion.

In CR, one should always treat the premise as true. One should only challenge whether the logical flaw from the premise to the conclusion is appropriate. In the weakening question, we could have an extra information that could make the conclusion doubtful...but to pick an answer choice that simply contradicts a premise in the argument is just simply wrong and not the correct way to tackle CR questions!

I agree with all you're saying, except with respect to this particular question- answer choice A does not contradict any of the premises of the argument. The argument says Pell grants are being cut, but nowhere does it mention other government funding for education.

yeah it does....look at the first sentence of the argument:

"The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget"

and what does option A say?:

"Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget."

my question is, even if the increase did take place, it doesn't address whether the gap between the rich and poor will increase nor whether the stability of the democracy will be strained. Also, option A is basically trying to say that one of the premises mentioned in the argument was a lie....that's not the way to tackle CR questions.

You're not understanding what they are saying.

The Pell grant is just ONE program that provides access to disadvantaged students. They are many other programs that do the same thing.

Let's say there are 3 programs that all help to provide access to higher education for disadvantaged students. Let's call them the Pell grant, the State Instructional grant, and the Disadvantage grant.

The choose not to increase funding for Pell grants. What A is saying is that they are increasing the the funding for all the other programs.

So 2008:
Pell grant $1,000,000 State Instruction grant$1,000,000
Disadvantaged grant $1,000,000 Total$3,000,000

2009:
Pell grant $1,000,000 (no increase) State Instructional grant$2,000,000
Disadvantaged grant $2,000,000 Total$5,000,000

They did NOT increase the Pell grants (just as stated in the passage) but total spending DID increase just as A states. You are right that the correct answer choice cannot contradict a premise (fact) within the passage. But A does not do this.
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10 Jul 2008, 05:04
oh, i see now....wow, thanks man! I honestly didn't realize that more than 1 grants institutions or organizations got involved in option A. that was a tricky question!
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04 Sep 2013, 03:35
The conclusion is that the government has “practiced bad public policy in failing
to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year's budget." The
basis for that claim is that Pell grants improve access to higher education, which
allows lower-income students to improve their economic standing. The main
assumption this argument relies on is that Pell grants are the only means
available to lower-income students who wish to access higher education. The
(A) CORRECT. If total spending on access to higher education will increase, then
the federal government has addressed the issue that the author cites, albeit
through means other than Pell grants.
(B) Whether candidates for Pell grants are aware of their eligibility is irrelevant to
the claim that the government has practiced bad public policy.
(C) This choice may sound like a counterargument (that Congress is somehow
practicing good public policy by authorizing a bill that will increase after-school
programs in urban communities) to the argument presented (that the government
is practicing bad public policy by failing to safeguard Pell grants). However, we
have no evidence that after-school programs in urban communities help lowincome
students afford higher education, so this does not weaken the argument
presented by the author.
(D) The dollar amount of the Pell grants is irrelevant. To this argument, it matters
only that they provide some help at all.
(E) Increased spending on education as a percentage of the total budget does
not necessarily imply that low-income students will have better access to higher
education. In fact, it does not even imply that education spending (in dollars) will
increase.
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04 Jun 2014, 23:43
This question seems to have stumped many because of he positioning of the conclusion. Finding the conclusion of the argument is the most important task, and here the conclusion is - The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy.

Note: The classic conclusion markers, strong tone and strong subjective opinion is found in this line. The last line - the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy - is used to justify the conclusion.

Argument Structure:

PREMISES:

1. Failure to increase Pells Grant or at least limit its reduction.
2. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class.
3. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

CONCLUSION:
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy .

The question stem asks us to weaken the argument.

Lets look at Choice (E): Not Enough Information: It talks about Federal Spending on education whereas we are interested in improving access to historically disadvantaged sections of the society. We do not know how much of Federal Spending on education will be directed towards improving access to the disadvantaged sections of the society.

Choice (D): Tempting but Trap: On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.

The argument states that Pells Grant improves access to higher education. It does not say it fully covers the cost of attending a four-year college or university. May be 15% is enough to improve access to higher education.

Choice (C): Irrelevant: Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.
We do not know how it improves or reduces access to higher education.

Choice (B): Tempting but a Trap: The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.
A very tempting choice but note the word "neediest". The neediest candidates lack information, and they are likely to be a small number, and the majority may actually benefit from it. So it strengthens the argument rather than weakening it.
The author of the argument is hoping that you will confuse a smaller group (neediest) with the larger group (all students who benefit from Pell's grants).

Choice (A): Correct: Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.

Note the words - “total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.” It uses the same set of words and is a perfect alternative to the Pell Grants. Hence the criticism of the Congress for failing to increase Pell Grants is nullified. This is the right choice!

Hope that helps!

Harish Kumar
Verbal Trainer
Crack Verbal
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04 Jun 2014, 23:58
Argument:
Pell Grants are being reduced
Pell Grants improve access to higher education (and therefore middle class) for student
Concl:Without this access, the gap between classes widens hence grants should not be reduced

IMO A, since A is correct here since it shows actually access is provided somehow differently

I think its right analysis but the most weakening argument would be "even with its access, the gap between classes cannot be reduced". Option B points out that even with Pell Grants, the gap will not be filled as the neediest of the grants has no or little knowledge about the same.

I go with B
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09 May 2015, 13:39
As per MGMAT, this is the conclusion : The conclusion is that the government has “practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year's budget."
Re: The current administration and Congress have once again   [#permalink] 09 May 2015, 13:39

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