With the elimination of the Pell Grant for the summer semester, students are left reevaluating their academic plans.
Starting July 1, students will no longer be able to take out a second Pell Grant to take summer classes. Pell Grants awarded for fall/spring semesters will remain at its current state.
This decision by congress has some students in an uproar while others simply see it as a slight inconvenience.
“Ferris is my only option; without Pell Grants, I don’t know how I will be able to attend this summer,” said Courtney Gilbert, a sophomore in music industry management. Gilbert took six credits in summer 2011.
Sara Bostwick, a senior in nursing, agrees. “The nursing program goes through the summer time so many of us nursing students are affected,” said Bostwick.
“If you don’t have summer financial aid then you can’t get through the (nursing) program; unless you are able to afford it out of pocket — and who has time to work during nursing school?” asked Bostwick.
Director of Financial Aid Sara Dew said that she does not expect any changes in fall and spring enrollment due to the cuts in the summer Pell Grants, but it may affect summer enrollment.
Last summer 1,321 Ferris State students received the Year Round Pell Grant. That is about $1.8 million that is being cut.
Dew said there may be a need-based grant in the future for those adversely affected by the cut of the summer Pell Grant, but she encourages students to plan out their academic schedules with these changes in mind.
Some students like Gilbert planned on taking summer classes next year and are now unable to due to financial reasons.
“I have to take two internships for music industry management and I’m working,” said Gilbert. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to graduate on time now.”
“Those who are trying to support themselves — the government will fight them tooth and nail for funding,” added Gilbert. “There are other ways to cut back that would not take away the summer Pell Grant.”
Other students are not as affected by the removal of the Year Round Pell Grant due to their majors.
Daniel Montgomery, a sophomore in architecture, said that even though he does rely on Pell Grants to attend Ferris, taking away the summer Pell Grant will not affect him too much.
Montgomery said that while this may affect his internship possibilities, he is not too worried about it.
“I just think it’s ridiculous that they keep taking away money for school. First it was the Michigan Promise Scholarship, now this,” said Bostwick.
The Year Round Pell Grant is not the only change occurring from Congress. The Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations are more strict this year.
The three parts to the SAP are degree progression, minimum GPA requirement, and class completion rate.
Dew explained that if students fails to meet one of these requirements, they will be suspended from financial aid. If they appeal and it is approved, they will be put on probation (they receive financial aid during this time) for one semester and then are reevaluated.
Dew urges students to meet with their academic counselors and plan ahead for any roadblocks that may prevent from receiving financial aid or attending necessary summer classes.