In April, a government shut-down was looming if a deal wasn’t reached on the Federal budget, and after numerous short-term extensions, a deal was finally reached. But what does this mean for you? Out of all the cuts in the new budget, the cut to the Pell Grant program is most significant for our students. The maximum Pell Grant a student can receive won’t change; the maximum will stay at $5550 for the year, so that does not change. So, what’s the big deal?
The award year (beginning July 1, 2011, and ending June 30, 2012) will eliminate the “year-round Pell.” I will use $3000 total in Pell as an example. To understand what this means, you must know that one third of your Pell Grant ($1000) comes to the school each quarter. So, if you attend school during the July, October, and January quarters, then your entire Pell Grant has come in. April is still in that award year, and with a year-round Pell, you can get another disbursement of Pell for April, even though all your Pell has come in already (which would be a total of $4000). The new rules get rid of this extra quarter.
The only good news is that this only affects students who are enrolled for all four quarters between July 1 and June 30 (July, October, January, and April quarters). Hopefully there will be enough done in the next year to allow the year-round Pell to return. If you have any questions about how this will affect you, stop in at the Financial Aid Office for more information.
(Originally published in the Metro Business College Arnold Newsletter - July 2011)