Discontinued for the past six years, year-round federal Pell Gra - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Discontinued for the past six years, year-round federal Pell Grants are back

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The U.S. Department of Education has reinstated year-round Pell Grants, providing many full-time college students with federal dollars to pay for summer classes.

Previously, students taking full-time course loads in the fall and spring would deplete their Pell Grants and have to seek other financial aid for summer classes. Only if they attended part-time during the fall and spring – six hours per semester, for example – would they have Pell funds left over for summer classes.

 “The good news is that students can continue their academic career without any disruption due to financial aid,” said Dr. Rito Silva, vice president of Student Affairs at Del Mar College. “This results in a shorter time to completion of their degree or certificate program.”

 Students who are interested in Pell Grants and not currently receiving them must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which can be found at www.fafsa.gov.

 According to Del Mar College Financial aid records, nearly 4,000 DMC students – about half of them attending full time – received Pell Grants in fall 2017, generating more than $6.8 million in tuition.

Del Mar says preliminary spring 2018 data shows just over 3,000 students receiving Pell Grants totaling more than $5.9 million.

 Pell Grants do not have to be repaid, except under certain circumstances, according to the DOE’s Federal Student Aid website. They are usually awarded only to undergraduate students, and the amount of aid a student can receive depends on financial need, the cost of attendance and other factors, the website states.

Nancy Briseño, Del Mar College’s director of Financial Aid emphasizes that there are other types of financial aid available to students who don’t qualify for Pell Grants.

“If they’re not eligible for Pell Grants, they may be eligible for state grants that are reserved for the summer,” Briseño said.

It’s important for all students to apply for financial aid, Silva added.

“You’ll never know how much assistance you could qualify for if you don’t apply. It’s a great investment of your time. The effort can be life changing,” Silva said.

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