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.

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

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Coronavirus Puts Higher Education in Perilous Position

April 7, 2020

by Izzy Hall

Higher education has long been seen as a pillar in American life, as an essential element of our economic system and society. But the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the underlying health conditions of this cultural institution. Many colleges and universities have been struggling to meet the needs of students while also keeping themselves above water financially. While we hope that our lives will return to normal when this crisis is over, it is hard to imagine that higher education will ever be the same. [...]

Scholarship Deadlines Extended Due to COVID-19

April 2, 2020

by Izzy Hall

Just as schools have closed their doors due to coronavirus, charities and non-profit organizations have had to shutter down. While they might suspend board meetings, community fundraisers or award ceremonies, chances are they haven't shut down their scholarship offerings - in fact, many non-profits have extended their scholarship application windows from mid- or late March into April, May or even June. If you've been applying for scholarships this spring and missed out on some March or early April deadlines, check your account - you may find that some scholarships have had their due dates pushed back, giving you more time to submit an application. [...]

Coronavirus News Update for Students, Families, Colleges

March 31, 2020

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

From student loans to college athletics, Scholarships.com is keeping you updated on all of the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on high school and higher education. If you're tired of reading about COVID-19, take a break by checking out your latest scholarship matches and earning money for college here. [...]