Federal financial aid for low-income students that’s now available all year could push more students through community colleges faster and increase the likelihood of them earning a degree.
The U.S. Department of Education announced the return of year-round Pell Grants for the fiscal year that began July 1. And with large portions of students studying at community colleges eligible for the grant program, it could increase summer enrollment figures.
Pell Grants are worth up to $6,000 for the most needy students, but that money was only good for two semesters. Now, if students take at least half of a full course load in the summer, they’ll get additional aid.
Taking even a few classes over the summer will maintain momentum for students to earn a degree, said Tony Cruz, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at St. Louis Community College.
A grant being available for summer studies will also reduce loan debt and financial burdens for low-income students, said Mariah Opager, of the low-income student support organization College Bound.
Read more: St. Louis Public Radio