Kennesaw State student presenting research to Capitol Hill officials

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 26, 2022

Kennesaw State University graduate student Nathaniel Jones will present his undergraduate research on the federal Pell Grant program to members of Congress, their staff members and other officials this week at the annual Posters on the Hill event. 

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Jones is one of 88 students from across the country who will participate in the highly competitive event presented by the Council on Undergraduate Research. Students are selected based on a review by a panel of experts in their field.

Pursuing a master’s in applied statistics and analytics in the School of Data Science and Analytics, Jones’ undergraduate research was conducted with input from his faculty mentor Susan Hardy, senior lecturer of statistics. Jones explores the differences in academic outcomes, debt accumulation and school-type of post-secondary schools with either a majority or minority proportion of students receiving a Pell Grant.

“My message to legislators and even school officials is that incoming freshmen need to know what it means to be financially dependent on their parents versus independent and how to correct if they are misclassified,” Jones said. “Dependent student loan debt is more than double that of independent students.”

Even before Posters on the Hill, Jones has received interest in his research from members of Congress. Rep. Lucy McBath’s legislative aide, Matthew Golden, is taking the idea of instituting Pell Grant safeguards to committee. This week Jones has meetings scheduled with Sen. Jon Ossoff, Rep. Barry Loudermilk and Rep. Sanford Bishop.

Jones was also one of five Kennesaw State students who presented research projects to state legislators and other officials at the Georgia Capitol as part of the Posters at the Georgia Capitol event on March 30.


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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.