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College students can get Pell Grants for summer school

June 2, 2010 at 1:02 a.m.


WHARTON - For the first time in the history of the Federal Pell Grant, students who have used all of their Pell Grant eligibility in the fall and spring semesters can receive additional grant funding for summer school.

The change, legislated by the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act, is designed to encourage students to enroll in summer school so they can graduate sooner.

Richard Hyde, Wharton County Junior College's director of financial aid, said a program name change by the federal government has confused students. It is now called "Two Pell Grants in One Award Year."

To qualify for the summer grant, students must take six hours each semester.

The maximum grant amount a student can receive for summer school is $5,350, the same as for the fall and spring semesters combined, Hyde said.

Students who were eligible for Pell Grants in the fall and spring, and who have maintained satisfactory progress as defined in the WCJC college catalog, may be eligible for additional summer funding. The same is true for high school graduates who have received notification of Pell eligibility based on their 2009-2010 Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Unlike a loan, a federal Pell Grant does not require repayment.

In 2010-2011, the maximum Pell Grant increases to $5,550. The amount awarded is dependent on financial need, but also on the cost to attend school, status as full-time or part-time student, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less. Students whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001 receive the maximum award.

For additional information about the summer Pell Grants, contact the WCJC Financial Aid Office at 979-532-6345 or 1-800-561-9252, ext. 6345.

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