Pell Grant Aid Cut to Six Years

John Ferrara, El Vaquero Sports Editor

Major changes to the regulations in financial aid and course enrollment will go into effect this July, potentially hurting many unsuspecting students in an attempt to demand accountability for their use of already limited funds during a major budget crisis.

Effective July 12, all students will be retroactively limited to a lifetime maximum of six years of Pell Grant aid for all college enrollment, including community and university levels.

“We have as many as 8,000 students getting Pell Grants this year at Glendale,” said associate dean of student financial aid services, Patricia Hurley.  “For students who are transferring, if they’re going to be relying on their Pell Grant to pay their tuition at their transfer school then they’re going to have to plan more seriously.”

For many students it is too late, as they have already unsuspectingly used up their Pell Grants, some frivolously on unethical expendatures.

Student Ani Shakhverdyan admits to using her FAFSA money  for car payments rather than on her education.

Students with subsidized loans will also be taking a painful hit to their wallets, as loans will no longer take six months to begin accruing interest but instead begin immediately following the student’s completion of college.

If Congress doesn’t take action, as called upon by President Obama, subsidized loans will also revert from 3.4 percent, back to 6.8 percent.

Previously, any students without a high school diploma or GED, were still able to qualify for federal student aid by taking ability to benefit tests or completing six transferable units at the college level, however these tests have now been eliminated, allowing only those with high school diplomas or GEDs to receive federal aid.

Additionally, the Board of Governors has made multiple changes to the California community colleges regulations regarding repeatable courses, and withdrawals.

In response to political pressure to demand accountability from students, withdraws will now be counted as substandard grades, which will be included in the students three allowed attempts to pass a course.  Students will not be allowed to retake a class more than two times, as the college will no longer receive apportionment for the student.

If granted by the board, students with extenuating circumstances such as an accident, illness, or any other circumstances beyond the student’s control, will be allowed to enroll in a course for a fourth time.

“After two attempts our department chairs and faculty, want to sit down with the student and make sure they know the ramifications of not passing the class for the third time, and [they] may have a prescription of how students can be successful,” said vice president of student services Ricardo Perez.

The California community college system is moving in a direction of getting students a degree, certificate, technical education, transferred, or educated in basic skills, and getting them out to make room for incoming students.

“The state has been paying colleges for students who have been withdrawing from classes so many times, or for students who don’t pass their classes and you have students coming in particularly from high school that want to do well, and they can’t get in that seat because [of students] with two W’s or substandard grades, that shouldn’t be taking that seat from a student who will most likely be successful in that class,” said Perez.

However, many students, like Elizabeth Delgado take a different stance on the treatment of college students.

“To deprive our younger generations is very unfair, … we should have some warning since we pay our taxes,” said Delgado, a retired nurse, and a Glendale College student since 1998.