The United States Department of Education (DOE) has approved changes to the Pell Grant program that will allow eligible students to receive up to 150 percent of their Pell award for an award year beginning 2017-2018.
The new regulation now allows colleges to award Pell for summer classes even if students have attended full-time in the fall and spring and have used 100 percent of their Pell for the year. To be eligible for the additional funds, students will need to be eligible to receive Pell for the payment period and enrolled in at least six credit hours in the summer semester. Eligible students may receive Pell grants for up to the equivalent of 12 semesters.
State Fair Community College Financial Aid and Veteran Services Director Lana DeJaynes says this change will help students stay on track to reach their educational goals in a timelier manner.
“The ability to access Pell funds for summer classes means that eligible students can keep taking classes and not have to put their education on hold until fall,” said DeJaynes. “Students will be able to keep their academic momentum, and that can make all the difference in whether or not they reach their goals. Losing that momentum could cause some students to abandon their goals completely or delay earning that degree or certificate in a career with more earning power.”
The federal Pell Grant program provides need-based grants to eligible students to promote access to higher education. Unlike student loans, grants are not repaid. Grant funds are awarded based on financial need, the cost to attend college, full- or part-time status, and a student’s plans to attend college for an academic year or less. To establish eligibility, students need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year they plan to attend college.