Budget Deal Ushers in New Pell Grant Eligibility Rules
Despite concerns about the prospect of deep cuts in Pell Grants to help low-income students attend college, the final fiscal 2012 federal budget preserves the maximum grant at $5,550—much to the relief of many in higher education. But changes in eligibility drop some students from the federal aid program and reduce grants for others.
The changes include limiting student eligibility to 12 semesters, down from 18; requiring students have a high school diploma or General Education Development, or GED, certificate to qualify; and increasing the family-income level from $23,000 to $30,000 for an automatic maximum grant. Estimates vary, but about 100,000 to 150,000 of the program's nearly 10 million recipients are expected to be affected by the new criteria, which go into effect July 1.
Those restrictions come on top of last year's elimination of the year-round Pell Grant, which cut off funding for students who...
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