Report Recommends Revisiting Year-Round Pell In College Affordability Efforts

By Katy Hopkins, Communications Staff

Because students can shave thousands of dollars off their degrees if they continue their studies through the summer, policymakers should reconsider Year-Round Pell Grants, a right-leaning nonprofit organization urges in a new report.

The American Action Forum (AAF) recently released six tips that can help students afford college, including encouraging students to go to school year-round, which it contends can save “roughly $2,400” by accelerating time-to-degree. But “[f]ederal financial aid, the Pell Grant in particular, isn’t set up to accommodate year-round attendance,” according to the report. 

“It’s worth revisiting the year-round Pell, as well as all of the other federal financial aid programs, to make sure the systems accommodate students who are committed to attending all year,” AAF concludes.

That’s a stance NASFAA has taken as well. Most recently, NASFAA called for a reinstatement of Year-Round Pell Grants in on-the-record comments on Sen. Tom Harkin ‘s (D-IA) Higher Education Affordability Act (HEAA) of 2014. 

“NASFAA is very supportive of reinstating the ability for students to receive Pell year-round,” NASFAA’s letter reads. “Students are currently restricted to one scheduled Pell award for each award year, despite enrollment pattern trends that make this restriction disadvantageous for many students.”

However, because the HEAA discussion draft currently includes acceleration requirements, NASFAA more strongly supports a year-round Pell proposal from Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), within the Pell Grant Protection Act. Her bill would create another NASFAA-championed component, the Pell Well, from which students could draw funds as needed. 


Publication Date: 9/12/2014

J. Wayne B | 10/27/2014 3:13:26 PM

As a 30+ years veteran in the financial aid office I was never so glad to see "free" money go away--simply because administering YRP was rediculously difficult. Institutional policy on satisfactory academic progress (SAP) should be the only factor in determining eligibility for any additional amount. That could work--we have systems that are programmed to handle SAP. Otherwise, no thank you.

Joshua M | 9/16/2014 6:55:47 PM

Bad idea. Too complicated for Aid administrators and I could see several students running out of pell too fast.

Gregory M | 9/12/2014 7:56:54 PM

If they eliminate the acceleration component, it will be manageable.

Raymond G | 9/12/2014 6:39:16 PM

Year round pell was a nightmare to manage and required burdenson manual adjustments and monitoring. Has NASFAA forgotten the complaints from Financial Aid Administrators from the last go around? Does NASFAA only represent students and not aid administrators? There has to be a balance.

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