Year-Round Pell Grant Needed

Year-round Pell Grant needed for Year-Round College Students

Most community college students are working adults and many have family responsibilities. For these students, in particular, a consistent and predictable college funding source is critical to college success and completion.

Therefore, we were encouraged by the recent news that a Senate appropriation subcommittee approved a funding bill that would restore the year-round Pell, which was eliminated in 2011, after only one year.

Year–round Pell Grant can boost College Completion
Speed and consistency in pursuit of a college certificate or degree can both facilitate completion. Data has clearly shown that students who “stop out” have significantly worse completion rates than students who pursue college curriculums at a steady pace.

Likewise, students who take longer to complete their college programs are more likely to find that life gets in the way, and prevents college completion. Year-round access to Pell Grants can help maintain rear-round enrollment by students.

Year–round Pell Grant can Grow Workforce Preparedness
While advocating that the Pell Grant should be available year-round, we simultaneously advocate that it be permitted for use in funding short-term and temporary skill development programs, especially in high-demand sectors.

Community colleges develop workforce training programs in response to demand from local employers. Local economies stagnate when employers are unable to hire skilled workers. Allowing the Pell Grant to be used for short-term workforce training, can help bridge the skills gap.

Year–round Pell Grant can Mitigate College Debt
Community college student loan borrowing has skyrocketed from 4% to 20% in the last 20 years. Over-borrowing by, and under-counseling of, college students has contributed to increasing student loan default rates, which can be devastating for students, and for colleges – by ultimately preventing colleges from participating in federal student loan programs.

Consistent access to even low levels of funds facilitates financial planning and budgeting. Increasing access to Pell Grant money could reduce student reliance on other forms of support.

Read more about the year-round Pell and related community college issues at Community College Daily.

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