Study

Pell Grant Restrictions Affect Enrollment at Community Colleges in the South

Community colleges across the country have seen a steep decline in enrollments this year for a few reasons. A recovering economy steering students toward jobs and budget cuts that have led to fee increases have played key roles but changes to federal Pell grant eligibility are most notable. According to a new study, community colleges in the Deep South have been hit hardest by the changes that took effect last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

The study, by Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama director Stephen Katsinas, argues that community college enrollments in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi are highly sensitive to changes in the federal grant program. Enrollment in 47 of the 62 two-year colleges across the three states declined this past fall and more than 5,000 students lost Pell grants – a change that the report's authors say can be directly attributed to the changes in eligibility. Students are now limited to just six years of Pell grants, fewer students automatically qualify for the maximum grant because of a lower income cap for receiving an “automatic zero” expected family contribution and students without a high school diploma or GED are no longer eligible.

While many states have started to see their economies improve, that’s not the case for the three states included in the study. In fact, not only have their economies not recovered but state-supported student aid programs are much smaller, so colleges have fewer resources for low-income students who no longer qualify for Pell grants. Both Pell grants and community colleges are "vital to enhancing college degree completion in the Deep South, for it is the community colleges where economically disadvantaged students begin higher education," the study noted. The enrollment numbers were based on surveys of community college officials. All of the two-year colleges in the three-state region responded. However, the national enrollment data for 2012 hasn't been compiled yet, said David Thomas, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education.

About Scholarships.com

Since its founding in 1999, Scholarships.com has had one goal: to help students find money for college. More than a decade later, Scholarships.com is recognized by high schools, colleges and universities nationwide and remains a trusted option for students and parents navigating the college and financial aid processes. To obtain more information, order free materials or create a profile, visit www.scholarships.com.

Media Contact:

Kevin Ladd
Scholarships.com
Phone: 847-432-1700 x 111
knl@scholarships.com

ADVERTISEMENT

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Florida Teen Wins Scholarship!

July 29, 2021

by Scholarships.com Staff

A high school senior from Lithia, Florida has just been awarded the $1,000 grand prize in a scholarship competition. The 16-year-old, Laura Gonzalez, is on track to attend college next fall. She hails from Lithia, a suburb of Tampa in central-east Florida and is completing her last year at Newsome Highschool, with a total population of about 3,000 students. Her small school and community are thrilled for her and are all wishing her the best on her upcoming new chapter in life. [...]

Student Loans vs. Scholarships

July 13, 2021

by Scholarships.com Staff

Even after all the battles you have won in applying to schools and getting accepted, there will most likely still be work to get done when it comes to paying tuition. There are two main avenues you can take to try to address this problem: scholarships or student loans: [...]

Create an Outstanding Resume That Employers Notice

July 7, 2021

by Scholarships.com Staff

Among the most important things you want to do before applying for a job is to update your resume with relevant experience. Doing so makes it possible for employers to take notice of you, your skills, and what you have to offer their companies. The sooner you clean up and polish your resume, the easier it becomes to submit it to companies seeking employees like you. [...]