Pell Grant Changes Limit Access For Some
"Recent changes to the eligibility requirements for the Pell Grant that have hurt enrollments in other Southern states have not yet had a significant impact on access to higher education in northeastern Louisiana," reports TheNewsStar.com. "Changes implemented this fall to the federal Pell Grant include decreasing the number of semesters a student can receive the grant, no longer allowing students without a high school diploma or equivalent to receive the grant and lowering the maximum Estimated Family Contribution income level for a student to be eligible for the grant. A recent study indicates the restrictions are having a substantial impact in other parts of the South, particularly at rural community colleges. Although financial aid administrators from area institutions say the changes have had little effect so far, they are watching carefully. “We have seen those issues come up, but it’s not at a level of concern at this time,” said Alvina Thomas, interim vice chancellor for student affairs at Louisiana Delta Community College. “It could eventually become a more serious issue at some point. ”The study, titled “The Impact of the New Pell Grant Restrictions on Community Colleges: a Three State Study of Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi,” surveyed financial aid administrators from community colleges in those three states and found that the new Pell restrictions had a direct relationship to the decline in their enrollment. According to the study, 47 out of 62 community colleges in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi saw a decrease in enrollment from fall 2011 to fall 2012 — a change the report’s authors attributed to the changes in Pell eligibility. The study, released by the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center, found that 5,000 students in those three states lost their Pell Grant eligibility for the 2012 fall semester, and more than 17,000 students are expected to lose their eligibility this year."
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