Year-round Pell may help drive summer enrollment
Palm Beach State College is preparing for another hike in summer enrollment with the return of year-round Pell grants.
The funding, announced by the U.S. Department of Education last year, means that PBSC’s more than 14,000 students currently receiving Pell grants for 2017-2018 academic year may also qualify for a summer grant of up to $2,960. This is the first time since 2011 that year-round Pell grants have been available.
The exact amount for students will vary depending on their expected family contribution, the number of classes they took in the fall and spring terms and their planned summer course load. The funds will be in addition to the Pell grant awarded for fall and spring.
“I’m happy that our Congressional leaders have reintroduced summer Pell for our students who need to attend summer to graduate on time,’’ said Dr. Peter Barbatis, vice president of student services and enrollment management. “This will help with our completion rate. Instead of waiting another semester, they can take classes in the summer that will propel them toward their graduation date.”
PBSC’s summer enrollment dipped in 2012, the first year after summer Pell ended, but the College has seen increases since then because of the introduction of its own strategic scholarships. They include Finish4Free, which allows dual enrollment students who complete at least 30 college credits in high school with a 3.0 grade point average to finish their A.A. degree for free. PBSC’s summer full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment was up 9 percent in 2010 and 13 percent in 2009. In 2017, it was up nearly 5 percent and 5 percent for the two years prior.
Registration for summer term classes began March 13. PBSC financial aid advisors are available to help students determine their eligibility and summer Pell grant award amount. For students not eligible for the Pell grant, PBSC has other strategic scholarships for those near completion of their program of study.
“It’s not often that our federal lawmakers allocate summer Pell, so students who are currently enrolled should take advantage of this opportunity and take a couple of classes to hopefully transfer to a university or enter the workforce earlier,’’ said Eddie Viera, College financial aid director. “We welcome students to call us if they have questions about their eligibility.”
Interested students should call the College Information Center at 866-576-7222. Information also is available at www.palmbeachstate.edu/financialaid.