In the News: Pell Grant Funding | 06.30.11

Posted in Financial Aid, News By Student Loan Network Staff

gavel on stack of documents

Recent Legislation

It may have come to your attention that because of the federal defecit, legislation is underway to cut funding for federal Pell Grants. When the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act was signed by President Obama, Pell Grants were among the programs to receive cuts, but luckily, not to the extent of other departments.

How were Pell Grants affected?

Overall, the Department of Education saw a cut of $1.3 billion, not substantial compared to the $38 billion in cuts the bill passed overall. Still, Pell Grant maximums remain at $5,550; however, students are now only able to receive one Pell Grant per calendar year (and possibly one for summer courses if eligible) whereas the old regulations allowed two grants per year. As always, the grants remain need-based and available to students who show the most need.

One stipulation of these changes is that students must be able to show academic progression. What does this mean? In order to be eligible for up to 2 Pell Grants in the calendar year, students must have accumulated at least 24 credit hours throughout the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters, or, if taking summer courses, by the end of the summer semester.

While so far, these have been the only cuts, the House of Representatives has drafted a bill that would cut Pell Grant funding drastically, should it be passed. It is currently being reviewed by the Senate, who will then make suggestions (hopefully decreasing Pell Grant cuts!)

After these recent changes, should you find yourself short on money, you can look into getting a private student loan. While it is best to exhaust all federal options first, getting a private loan can help with a lot of added expenses like books, housing, and fees.

Update – 6/29/2011: New Pell Grant cuts going into effect this Friday, July 1, 2011 will make it so students can no longer take out a second Pell Grant to help pay for summer classes. It turns out that for-profit colleges have been receiving almost 37 percent of the $1.6-billion disbursed for second Pell Grants in 2009-10. This change will greatly affect students who were able to attend for-profit institutions only with the help of Pell Grants.

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One Response to “In the News: Pell Grant Funding”

  1. Diana says on September 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm:

    Would like to know how one qualifies for a Pell Grant and then the school says they can’t have it because they already have 94 credit hours but the degree they changed their course of study and have to go 2 years. The person never had a Pell Grant before and now qualifies and the institution refuses them

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