Sweeping Changes to Pell Grant Program; Modest Increase in L&C Tuition Announced

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Tamara Wing

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As a result of federal budget negotiations, several changes are due to take effect on July 1, 2012, concerning the federal Pell grant program.  These changes will affect a great number of L&C students; during the 2010 – 11 school year, 2,773 L&C students received Pell awards.  The changes, announced at the January 18 Student Government Association’s Senate meeting, are as follows:


Income eligibility:  The maximum amount earned by a household will decrease from $30,000 to $23,000 per year for Pell grant recipients who contribute nothing toward their undergraduate programs.


Enrollment and program completion:  Students receiving Pell grant monies will only receive grants for 12 semesters, a drop from 18 semesters funded in the past.  Baccalaureate degrees will need to be completed more quickly, and part time students will be considered to have used, for example, a grant for half of a semester if they are enrolled half-time.


Students without a high school diploma or the equivalent: The “ability to benefit” test will be gutted to bar those without a diploma from receiving Pell grant monies.


Stafford loans:  The interest rate will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Loans issued between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, will no longer be given a six-month grace period from interest, although the date for the first payment due will remain six months after graduation.


The current estimate for the number of students who will be affected by the changes to the Pell grant program is 100,000 nationally and includes students who are already enrolled.


L&C Tuition:  Beginning in the Fall 2011 semester, the price per credit hour at L&C will increase from $93 to $97.


About Tamara Wing

Tamara will leave LC in the summer of 2011 with a Paralegal A.A.S. and a Legal Office Assistant A.A.S. She hopes to eventually work with the ACLU or similar non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of civil liberties.
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