Pell Grants are celebrating their 40th anniversary, notes Community College Times. In 1972, Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell wrote the law creating college grants for low-income students. Now expanded to moderate-income students, Pell spending is a huge part of the U.S. Education budget.
“It’s absolutely indispensable,” said Félix Matos Rodríguez, president of Hostos Community College (HCC), a City University of New York college. An estimated 5,000 of 7,000 HCC students use Pell aid.
Phi Theta Kappa, the community college honor society, asked members how Pell has helped them. Kimberlee Jenkins, who attends Mesa Community College in Arizona, wrote that the grant enabled her to earn a degree in two years while raising a child.
I had a great career with my first child on the way when the economy took a dive and I was laid off. As a soon-to-be single mother, I was lost and scared. . . . I went to the college looking for information, but realized I couldn’t afford to pay for school, take care of my baby and look for a job. I was directed to look into financial aid and loans—another scary thought: loans with no income! I was extremely excited when I learned I could qualify for a Pell Grant. I am currently on track to graduate this May with honors. Completion time has taken me less than four semesters.
Thanks to Pell aid, Capri Richardson was able to earn a nursing degree at Florence-Darlington Technical College in South Carolina.