Missouri Western students who receive Pell Grants may be able to receive more grant money to attend summer classes if the student desires.
According to the Missouri Western Financial Aid web site, Federal regulations now allow full-time students during fall and spring semesters to receive additional funds for classes the following summer.
These changes began in the summer or 2010.
While this change was made to help students advance in their progress towards a degree, not all students know about the “Year Round Pell.” Junior Rebeccah White is one of these students.
“I didn’t know that I could get funding for summer classes though my Pell Grant,” White said. “Since I am kind of behind in my sequence of classes for my degree, this can really help me catch up.”
Previously, students used all the money they were awarded from their Pell Grants for fall and spring classes, they were not allowed any more funds for summer classes.
Now, if students are eligible, they can receive more grant money to help pay for summer classes.
Students are eligible if they are enrolled in and attend a minimum of 6 credit hours, enroll in and attend at least one four week and/or one eight week course, and are a degree seeking student at Western.
Students also need a completed FAFSA for the year on file, satisfactory academic progress and they need to meet all general eligibility requirements for Pell Grant funding.
Students enrolled in less than 6 credits hours during the summer are not eligible for the Year Round Pell. They need to have remaining Pell Grant money from their fall and spring award in order to receive a Pell Grant for summer.
Interim director of financial aid Marilyn Baker encourages all students who receive Pell Grants to check and see if they are able to receive extra funding for summer classes.
“We don’t know how long it will be available,” Baker said. “I would definitely encourage students to take advantage of it while it is available.”
Due to this change, there was an 80 percent increase in Pell Grant dollars awarded to students from the 08-09 school year to the 09-10 school year. It increased from $104,861 to $539,721. Students use this money to attend summer classes.
For the 2010 school year, there was a ten percent increase in FAFSA applications compared to fall 2009. Also compared to fall 2009, there was a 19 percent increase in the number of students awarded financial aid, a 22 percent increase in federal loan certification, and a 14 percent increase in total funds disbursed for fall 2010.
This means that more students are applying for and receiving scholarships, grants and loans, both Federal and institutional.
Not all students are eligible for the Year Round Pell, but Baker encourages students to check the financial aid website and to visit the financial aid office. For students who are eligible, the Year Round Pell can help them get ahead in their studies.