Pell Grant Protection Act Calls For Summer Education Funding

"Amid 2011 budget cuts, Congress decided to withdraw year-round Pell Grants, leaving about 1 million students to find an alternative way to finance their summer education. In April, a handful of U.S. senators and representatives announced they’re trying to bring the grants back," USA Today reports.

"On April 1, senate members introduced the Pell Grant Protection Act — a bill that calls for the grant’s extension through the summer term and requests that Pell Grants no longer be subject to annual budget legislation. …

Though students can technically receive Pell Grants during the summer, recipients receive funds only for an academic year, which students traditionally designate as fall and spring. During the break in the academic year, students are not awarded any funds.

Pell Grant recipients struggling to afford classes this summer support the proposed bill, hoping it will lighten the financial burden faced during the summer months. Student governments at schools such as the University of Hawaii have already voiced their support of the legislation. …

Karen McCarthy, senior policy analyst for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), says not everyone sees the proposed bill from the student perspective.

McCarthy says Congress members who are skeptical about the bill do not want Pell Grants to become mandatory funding.

McCarthy, who supports the bill, says NASFAA is excited about its possibilities.

'There’s no downside to it from the student perspective,' she says.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, among those spearheading the Pell Grant Protection Act, says the goal is to enable students to finish college sooner and without gaps in eligibility.

Hirono says as college prices have risen, Pell Grant funding should not remain stagnant."

NASFAA's "Financial Aid in the News" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.