Without Pell, summer enrollment slips

Without the year-round Pell Grant, which was cut from the federal budget in 2011 in a bipartisan compromise, summer enrollments are down at many community colleges, reports Inside Higher Ed.  College leaders fear graduation rates will fall too.

President Obama suggested ending the program, which had spiraled to $8 billion in three years, to save the maximum grant of $5,550. The administration said there was no evidence offering summer grants had raised graduation rates.

With many low-income students, community colleges are especially worried about the effect of losing year-round Pell Grants.

At Cuyahoga Community College, students have opted to work in the summer rather than stretch their Pell Grant across an additional few months of classes, says Belinda Miles, the college’s provost, who adds that about 850 students were affected by the change. She worries that students who opt not to attend in the summer will take longer to finish college.

“We administrators like to think of summer as a third full semester as opposed to a break,” Miles said.

At Quinsigamond Community College, in Worcester, Mass., summer enrollment dropped by 5 percent this year after five years of increases.

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[…] Summer enrollment is down at many community colleges now that low-income students can’t get federal aid. In a bipartisan compromise last year, the “year-round” Pell Grant was cut from the budget to keep the maximum grant at $5,550. […]


I’m kind of torn on this – with jobs so scarce, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to stretch out the process of completion.

OTOH, why not limit the summer grants to those with 2.5 GPA or above?

FWIW, I went year-round, and I used Pell grants. It made sense, not just for the shortening of time, but also because otherwise, I was disrupting child care arrangements.

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