Pell Grant:
Funding Limited to Three Terms

Students taking advantage of summer’s compounded five-week courses may achieve their academic goals faster, but summer term enrollment will require students to be more economically minded with their financial aid budgets.

Students on the Pell Grant, for example, are only eligible for three full-time terms of attendance per year, so attendance in summer means a reduction in eligibility for the traditional fall, winter, and spring term sessions.

“Whatever you do in the summer term will directly reflect what you’re going to receive in the spring. If students have a $3000 award from financial aid, and they go summer, fall and winter term, they will have $1000 in the summer term and $1000 in the fall term and $1000 in the winter term. If students go part time in the summer, they can get $500 in the summer, $1000 in the fall, $1000 for winter term and they will get the remaining $500 in the spring. They’re still getting $3000. If students go three-quarter time in the summer, they will get $750 in the summer, full time fall, $1000 in the winter and will have $250 left of their Pell grant,” said Director of Financial Aid Michelle Bergmann who has been a UCC employee for 19 years.

For a time, the Obama administration gave four full terms of Pell grant eligibility to help students accelerate their degree and get into work quicker.

However, some students took advantage of the Pell Grant; instead of getting out of school in two years, they lived off their financial aid and stayed in school for an additional three to four years. Since students were taking longer, the Obama administration cut out the extra fourth term, according to Bergmann.

This is the first year that the Pell grant cut back to the three original terms of aid is in effect. Students who were expecting to get the Pell grant for four full time terms may be confused this year when the standard is back to three full time terms.

Bergmann strongly encourages students to be knowledgeable about this information because far too many students claim that no one ever told them the details they needed. She advises students to read through their letters and refer to their information booklets carefully to make sure they are making knowledgeable decisions on their academic future.

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.