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Changes to Pell Grant harm college students, potentially causing drop in enrollment

JRF | Jan 22 2013 |  · · · 

For the first time in 15 years, college enrollment has dropped. Between fall of 2010 and fall of 2011, there was a decrease in over 34,000 enrolled students. Colleges in the country have seen these drops, in part, due to new Pell eligibility guidelines. The changes were a cost cutting method because the program had doubled in size in only four years due to an increase in recipients and award amounts.

To offset expenses, the program changed the guidelines for eligibility. The guidelines now include fewer semesters of eligibility, no summer grants and a lower income cap. Many low-income students struggle financially and must borrow substantially more money to cover tuition, books and fees. Others are discouraged from even enrolling due to high tuition costs without the help of Pell.

Those affected include JRF scholars like LaTrena. In 2011, we covered the effects of changing Pell eligibility in this way. In an interview, LaTrena discusses the importance of the JRF scholarship, especially during this time.

In 2013, JRF will award more scholarships than ever – 87! There are so many who need help changing their lives through education, and donors are making it possible.

However, there are still plenty of students that need support! In the future, we hope that there will be Pell grant reforms that take away barriers that disproportionately impact nontraditional students. Read more here. What do you see in the future for Pell grants?

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