Year-round Pell Grant eligibility reinstated

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MOSES LAKE- Big Bend Community College students can take advantage of the reinstatement of year-round Pell grants starting this summer.

With year-round Pell, students can now receive additional Pell grant awards in a given year – up to an additional 50 percent of the maximum award. The grant maximum is currently $5,920 but increases to $6,095 on July 1. Students need to register for at least six eligible credits to receive the additional award.

This is good news for Pell recipients at Big Bend said Financial Aid advisor Jose Hernandez. 

Prior to year-round Pell, he saw students having to choose between taking the summer quarter off or finding alternative ways of paying summer tuition. He explained if students used some of their award in the summer quarter, they knew their spring quarter award would decrease.

To avoid that, some students just didn’t attend summer quarter, while others did and took out additional student loans to help pay for tuition. 

“Year-round Pell benefits our students because now they get an increase in their Pell grant award, and they can use that to attend summer classes,” said Hernandez. “They don’t have to take the summer off or increase their amount of student loans.”

He added that year-round Pell will ultimately help recipients complete their degrees faster.

An example would be a student who at the end of spring quarter is only one more quarter away from being able to transfer to a four-year college or university. Instead of having to wait for fall, that student can now afford to attend summer quarter and transfer in the fall.

“Nationwide students now have the opportunity to complete their degree quicker, and that was a main reason for the push to implement year-round Pell again,” said Hernandez.

Year-round Pell grants have not been available since the 2010-11 academic year.

The Pell grant is a federal grant program for undergraduate students. The amount of the grant is determined by the estimated family contribution, and the number of credits a student is registered for. Grants do not need to be repaid as long as Satisfactory Academic Progress is maintained. 

For more information, visit BBCC’s Financial Aid Office or call 509-793-2061.