Starting in summer 2010, students will be able to use their Federal Pell Grant Program federal aid toward their summer college courses. In the past, a college student could only use these grant funds for spring and fall college programs.
Students who take advantage of this federal aid for their summer courses can complete their college degree programs more quickly, which can save additional money in tuition and room and board costs.
To be eligible for using this federal aid for their summer courses, students must have completed 24 credit hours toward their degree programs during the prior fall and spring semesters and have received passing grades, and they must enroll in at least 6 hours of courses during the summer.
This significant change to how the Pell Grant is administered joins other recent changes to this federal financial aid program. In 2009, President Obama increased the annual maximum financial aid award offered by the Pell Grant program. In 2009, the federal aid program’s maximum award was increased 13%, up to $5,350. For the 2010-11 school year, the award was increased to $5,550 per semester. The administration plans to continue increasing the maximum award to an estimated $6,900 in 2019, in accordance with projected inflation trends in college costs such as tuition and room and board.
The Pell Grant program has long been considered the cornerstone of federal financial aid for college. It is the country’s largest grant program, and it is designed to help lower-income students pay for tuition toward a college degree.
President Obama has turned his attention toward this financial aid program as part of his push to get more students to enroll in, and complete, their college degree. The changes in the Pell Grant program seek to prevent students from dropping out or taking on college loans they may find it difficult to pay back in the future.
In recent months, there has been concern with the Pell Grant program’s ability to keep up with the jump in college enrollment, and the resulting student need for financial aid through this grant program. Recent projections indicate that the program will cost over $18 billion more than the federal government expected it to over the next three years.
While economic shortfalls are common in grant programs like this one, this current shortfall is the largest in the program’s history. What’s to blame for this shortfall? The tough job market is sending students back to college for more education, and the grant program itself has a new formula for eligibility that makes an increasing amount of students able to benefit from this federal aid.
While students are understandably concerned about their ability to pay for college with this Pell Grant shortfall, administration officials claim that the government intends to resolve these problems without taking money away from students pursuing their college education. Because the government is committed to educating students to take on the careers and challenges that will face us in coming years, students should continue to receive the necessary federal aid funds through the Pell Grant programs to pursue their college degrees.
People Who Read This Article Also Read:
Federal Pell Grant Basics
How Pell Grant Will Keep Up with College Enrollment
Understanding Obama's Pell Grant Revisions
Pell Grant Eligibility
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): The Basics