Students that rely on Pell Grants to pay for college may have to look for another way to pay if proposed cuts to the grant are implemented.
Pell Grants, formerly called Basic Educational Opportunity Grants, are need based grants awarded to low-income undergraduate students.
As it stands now, students can receive the maximum Pell Grant, $5,550, for the year consisting of the fall and spring semesters. Students are also eligible to receive an additional grant if they take summer courses. This is an option students may lose.
President Obama said that while costs have risen, he does not want to lower the grant, but instead would take a “scalpel” to the grant by eliminating it for summer sessions.
This can affect students graduating on time, said Matthew Casanova, deputy director of financial aid services at Queens College. “[Students] would lose that advantage of a summer session.”
Right now, CUNY tuition stands at $4,830 per year at four-year colleges. For those receiving the full Pell Grant, their tuition and some expenses are covered. If the maximum is cut, tuition may still be covered, but the student’s ability to cover expenses will be hindered.
The House of Representative presented a proposal that would reduce the maximum Pell Grant by $845, which would not cover CUNY tuition.
“Any cuts would trickle down to academics,” said Casanova. “That extra money goes toward college expenses, books, which are going up in price, et cetera.”