Monday, September 20, 2021

Pell Grant budget to expand by $2 billion

Money is a big concern for most college students, but what might be a modest increase to some might be pocket change to others.

The Obama administration proposed to expand the current Pell Grant budget by “$2 billion in the next fiscal year,” the Washington Post reported, increasing the amount full-time college students who rely on the grant can use for their education.

Members of the Obama administration hope the financial increase toward the Pell Grant program will incentivize students to take more classes per semester, which can help them graduate in four years and boost graduation rates for colleges, according to the Post.

“I think it’s a good idea because with people taking upwards of six years to complete their degree, almost half the people fail to do it,” Plattsburgh State Economics and Finance Professor Colin Read said. “If we can create a greater sense of immediacy earlier on, so they can get over the hurdle, I think they’re much more likely to complete their degree.”

Full-time students who qualify for the Pell Grant program will be able to receive grants for three semesters a year, including the summer and possibly finish their degree a semester early without having to take out more student loans. The administration estimated the Pell Grant helps about “700,000 students in the coming year,” and the administration hopes this increase in the amount students can receive will help students lessen their college bills, the Post reported.

“I wish they would put more into the Pell Grant program,” PSUC Director of Student Financial Services Todd Moravec said, advocating a bigger jump in the amount of increases to financial aid funds that are made available to students.

Some students agree with Moravec that state and federal governments should assist students more with the costs of college tuition and fees.

“I think that financial aid plays a role in not just being in the college, but finishing college. We all need that, (and) we’re going to need as much help as possible.” PSUC English major Tyler Monacchio said.

Because students do not have to pay back grants, this would ease students’ repayment burdens after graduation. Pell Grant expansion can help many students who are trying to continue their education, especially those students who face high tuition fees.

“There are a lot of kids with Pell Grants, so out of that $2 billion, each student will be getting a $40 increase. Two billion (dollars) may sound like a lot, but it’s not much,” Moravec said.

Email Markiesha Thompson at markiesha.thompson@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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