U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt touted the importance of the Pell Grant being available to students year-round during a visit May 2 to Southeast Missouri State University.
Funding to make the Pell Grant available through the summer months was made possible through an appropriations bill he helped secure.
During a round table discussion in the Academic Hall Dome Room, Blunt visited with Southeast students, faculty and staff, a Southeast Regent, and community and vocational school leaders who shared their stories on the ways in which the Pell Grant has personally benefited them or their students.
A new three percent increase in funding for the Pell Grant is now making the aid available year-round. Previously, students enrolled year-round were generally receivng the federal grant during fall and spring semester coursework only. This would cause students to have to pay out of pocket, take out loans, or not enroll for summer courses. This new appropriations bill allows students access to addition Pell grant funds to cover their summer costs, which in turn allows them to stay on track or even get ahead on their academic path. Pell Grants do not need to be repaid and are available to students who meet federal student aid eligibility requirements.
The change, he said, will help students finish college earlier and with less debt. He said about one million students will take courses on college campuses this summer as a result of the year-round Pell. Blunt said the continuity in students taking coursework is important. Students who take breaks in their schooling to work to fund their education sometimes do not return and, as result, may not complete their educational goals.