“Reinstating year-round Pell grants –– a key area for community colleges –– is making some progress in Congress,” Community College Daily reports.
“… On Monday, community college advocates held on informational briefing on Capitol Hill to outline the legislative priorities for two-year colleges. Bringing back year-round Pell grants was among the five points to improve the Pell program.
‘That’s a very high priority for our students,’ noted Tim Sheenan, vice president for government and community relations at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), which co-sponsored the event with AACC.
SLCC President Deneece Huftalin noted that enrollment increased by 26 percent at her college when students were able to use Pell grants for summer courses. It dropped by 5 percent when year-round eligibility was eliminated.
Huftalin emphasized the year-round grants are critical to keep students — who also often juggle work and family life — going to class. They want to finish their courses as quickly as possible, so having options such as taking summer classes — and receiving aid to pay for it — is important.
‘Consistency of enrollment is more important than credit hours,’ she said, referring to community college students often taking fewer credits per semester because of other obligations.
Year-round Pell was also crucial at other colleges around the country. When it was eliminated, community colleges in Colorado saw a summer drop of 7,000 students, according to Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System.
‘The lack of year-round Pell significantly hurt our students,’ she said.”