By Maria Modica
The federal government is now offering Pell Grants for eligible students in the summer.
To use the eligibility during the summer, students need to fill out the FAFSA application for the 2017-2018 academic year, take 12 credits total during each fall and spring semester, and register for six credits for the summer semester that will go toward a degree.
J.D. Robertson, executive director of financial aid and scholarships, said there was previously no Pell Grant for the summer term for students who were full time in the fall and spring semesters. Now students have the ability to not only take summer classes but also get financial aid as long as students register for six credits in the summer.
Robertson said these changes do not have anything to do with they loans. With student loans, if students utilized all student-loan resources available to them in the fall and spring semester, they may not be eligible to take out more student loans in the summer. The only way students can be eligible in the summer is if they move from a freshman to a sophomore standing, or a sophomore to a junior or senior standing.
“Students need to realize that there is truly a lifetime maximum amount of pell grant that students can receive,” Robertson said. “So they need to stay on track toward their graduation by meeting their financial and academic advisors every semester, and making sure their plan is working, so that they graduate on time.”
Michael Lacourse, vice president of academic affairs, said because of this change more students want to take classes during the summer, and Dixie State University wants to expand the number of courses available for students.
“There will be increasing courses that will be offered in the summer to accommodate the students and as part of that, we are going to offer more courses online,” Lacourse said. “We know that some students may want to go home and work and earn some money in the summer time.”
DSU has also increased salary for faculty as an incentive for them to teach in the summer.
“We have increased [salaries] quite a bit for those teaching larger classes,” Lacourse said.
Financial Aid Counselor Mikenzie Thompson said there are benefits to this change as students register for more summer classes, including the opportunity for students to get done with school faster.
“Classes in the summer have a shorter time period; it’s a lot quicker, and a lot [more] fast paced,” Thompson said. “It’s free if you’re eligible and it helps you get stuff done. Plus classes in the summer are a lot cheaper, and they don’t count whether or not [students] have in-state and out-of-state tuition.”
This summer, DSU is going to focus mostly on general education courses in order to help students who want to retake a course, want to jump start their freshman year, or want to move through their degree programs more quickly. If enrollment increases, DSU will be able to do more and expand the number of courses offered during the following summer.
“I think eventually in the long term, you’ll end up seeing year-round operations, it may take a few years for us to get there, but we think that more and more faculty will teach in the summer time, and more and more students will want to take classes,” Lacourse said.
Students who completes their 2017-2018 FAFSA application may be eligible for spring 2018 and summer 2018 financial aid. Students who are concerned about how much financial aid they will get for the summer can go to a financial aid adviser anytime before the summer semester starts.