June 17, 2011
Summer of 2011 marks the end of summer semester Pell Grants
SALT LAKE CITY – Completing college coursework during the summertime has become increasingly popular as more and more students try to either register for classes they find difficult to get into during traditional fall/spring semesters or even get a jump on bringing their graduation day just a little bit closer. Students who rely on financial aid were able to apply for summer semester Pell Grants when they first became available in 2009. Because of Federal budget reductions, Congress eliminated year-round Pell Grant funding. This year marks the last time that Pell Grants will be available for summer semester enrollment at colleges and universities to students who are full time in fall and spring semesters. Therefore, students need to prepare and plan now for those inevitable tuition costs they will incur if they want to take summer classes in the future.
“Getting a second Pell Grant award in the same academic year was ended by congress this past year to try and help reduce the federal budget deficit,” said Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) Executive Director David Feitz. “This means that for 2012, full-time students who rely on Pell Grants for tuition during the regular school year cannot apply during the summer.” To qualify for any federal financial aid, students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be done online at fafsa.org or through a number of outreach events sponsored by UHEAA. This application process must be completed on a yearly basis to determine Pell Grant and other federal aid. Given the timeline of the Pell Grant application, according to Feitz, there is still time and ways to pay for college.
Even with these changes to Pell Grants, there is still a lot of financial aid available to students. In addition to Pell Grants, a number of other federal, state and school grants are available to eligible students after completing the FAFSA. Also, most colleges offer on-campus jobs that are funded with federal student aid dollars. Feitz says that financial aid varies with each student, but it’s worth applying just to see what kind of grants might be received. “Students never know if they will get a grant until they try. And if you receive a grant, that means fewer loans and less debt to repay in the future.”
Feitz also recommends websites like UtahFutures.org, which allow students to compare and search various scholarships by type or deadline and can aid in the process of knowing what is available. He says, “Some scholarships are based upon grades, but there are other scholarships which are awarded for something the student is good at or something particular about an individual student. The first step in getting these awards is finding out about them and UtahFutures.org is an excellent resource.”
It’s also never too late to save for college, whether in a savings account or with a 529 plan like the Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP). UESP accounts can be opened any time, with no minimum contribution or schedule. Earnings on the accounts grow tax deferred from federal and Utah state income taxes.
“Saving for college, working as much as possible and determining your eligibility for grants or scholarships are all important steps before taking on a student loan,” Feitz advises.
About The Utah System of Higher Education: USHE includes all of Utah’s eight public colleges and universities: The University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Snow College, Dixie State College, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. For more information on the Utah System of Higher Education, visit our website at http://www.higheredutah.org.
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To download a .pdf of this news release, click here.Posted by: psilberman