Sometimes, surprises are nice and this summer several people will be surprised to know that they have more free money available to them for school.
As a result of the historic health care legislation the federal governments passed recently, new monies were made available to higher education. The Pell Grant was one of those higher education programs affected and will make additional money available immediately.
Obviously, this won’t apply to you if you didn’t use all of the available Pell to begin with. In that case you would just use whatever was left over to attend the summer semester.
Marilyn Baker, interim director of financial aid at Missouri Western State University, is excited about what this opportunity represents for the students to accelerate their education.
The exciting aspect is that in better times, the ability for students to receive additional money might present MWSU with the need to make more courses available in the summer semester.
“This could potentially promote a lot of growth for summer enrollment, at least that’s our hope,” Baker said.
Baker feels that if the students understand that more money is available to them, then more students will try to take advantage of it and finish their degrees quicker. And that is really what these additional funds are meant to do.
At this point, the financial aid office has sent out emails to the approximately 2,000 Pell recipients that there have been regulatory changes to the Pell allowing them to use more money.
The biggest obstacle for the financial aid office has simply been getting the word out and getting students to understand that more money is available to them, even if they had used their maximum allotment.
Baker went on to say that the current expected family contribution [EFC] number of 4,617 would be increased to 5,273 making the Pell available to more students.
Shelby Rulon, a freshman studying nursing, is a work-study student that will be taking advantage of these new funds being made available this summer. Rulon is enrolling in 7 credit hours for this up-coming summer session.
Rulon said that the additional money available through Pell affected her decision on how many hours she would be taking this summer. Rulon lives on campus, qualifies for the full Pell Grant and also uses scholarship money to attend MWSU.
Rulon thinks that these additional funds will help a lot of students. “Especially with nursing there are so many classes to take and only four years, that being able to take the summer classes and having the financial aid to back you up, makes it a lot easier,” Rulon said.
Many students face issues similar to Rulon’s and having the ability to take summer courses helps, but only if classes that you need to take are available in the summer sessions.
Susan Bracciano, registrar, said that during registration, enrollment is being observed and the option to add more sections of high-demand courses is available.
“As students end the first two to three weeks of priority registration, we will be able to tell if there are any additional course needs that exist,” Bracciano said.
Some of the criteria to qualify for summer Pell money are: having a complete 2009-10 FAFSA on file; meeting the general requirements for Pell Grant funding; enrolling in a minimum of six credit hours (excludes CED and audited courses); enrolling in at least one four week and/or one eight week course; and making satisfactory academic progress.
You may have noticed that intersession classes were not mentioned and that is because they do not qualify for these additional funds.