Community College Students Being Hit by Pell Grant Changes

Enrollment at Community College of Philadelphia fell 4% last fall, and officials suspect tightened eligibility guidelines for federal financial aid are in part to blame. Full-time student enrollment on its own took an even bigger hit, dropping 8.3%, from 5,540 in fall 2011 to 5,076 last fall.

College costs more than doubled in four years, to $35.6 billion in 2010, because of an increase in recipients and a rise in the maximum Pell Grant award (the maximum award for the current 2012-2013 grant year is $5,550). But college officials say the recent changes, which include a lower income cap to guarantee eligibility, fewer semesters of eligibility, and elimination of summer grants, will deny some of the most vulnerable students the chance to finish college.
Student loan borrowing is already at record high levels. The loss or reduction of Pell grant eligibility will force many low income students to borrow a larger amount. Community colleges are likely to be hit particularly hard because of the compositions of their student bodies. At CCP, more than half - nearly 16,000 students - received $47.7 million in Pell grants last year, said Community College of Philadelphia president Stephen M. Curtis.
Questions about Pell Grants and eligibility? Visit: Department of Education Website


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