As many of us have already noticed, Federal Pell grants available for the summer term aren’t quite what they were last year when the Pell program was expanded to let students receive TWO Pell grants in one year — the second one typically for summer classes.
This change forced many students to not enroll or take fewer credit hours than they had in the past during the Summer term.
In 2010, the Federal government expanded the Pell Grant, offering another block of funds for students attending summer term. As reported by the New York Times, the Administration anticipated limited participation, amounting to 1% or so of the Pell program’s annual $30 billion budget. However, a much higher number of students took part in the program than expected. Under pressure to reduce spending in light of the Great Recession and the Federal budget deficits, the Obama administration eliminated the program in this year’s budget.
“Unfortunately for our students, the Pell Grant fund was not sufficient to fund a second Pell Grant in the same award year,” says Michael J. Bennett, Associate Vice President of SPCs Financial Assistance Services. “I don’t expect it will come back anytime soon.”
According to figures supplied by Bennett, 1,661 students took advantage of the Pell 2 program last year, collecting over $2 million in awards. For this term and the foreseeable future, those funds will no longer be available to students in need.
Pell grants are awarded on the basis of financial need, with the lowest-income students receiving a maximum of $5,550 for the year (Sept 1 – August 31). If a student attends part-time and does not use all their yearly Pell Grant award during the fall and spring terms, they may use their remaining Pell grant during the summer term.