Students are being affected by Pell Grant split


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Anthony Hodge and Anthony Hodge

Effective summer 2011, the pell grants will now be disbursed on two separate dates to ensure students stay full time.

Students will receive the first half of their Pell Grants on Aug 15 (or as soon as students complete the financial aid packet), the second pell will be released on Oct. 28.

Kimberly Westby, dean of student support of services, said that the Financial Aid Department discovered students dropping classes during the spring semester.

“We’ve found that in the Spring 2011 semester when we did our calculations that we had a lot of drops, which caused a huge dollar amount of students owing their financial aid,” she said

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She continued, saying, “Having two disbursements will allow us to have our census state later on in the term.”

The Financial Aid Department will view each student’s account on Oct. 28 to see where students stand in their classes. This will determine how much students will receive during the semester.

Westby said that all of the community colleges are doing this, and Cerritos College decided to follow up on the idea.

So far, a total of 8,219 students have been awarded over $36 million, according to Cerritos Colleges’ Award Report.

Media relations of Higher One Shoba Lemoine said that Higher One is not affect by the change that has been made for getting Pell Grants

Psychology major German Sanchez was unaware of the new Pell Grant plan, and said that there was a new penalty during the Summer 2011 term.

“I ran into a situation this summer where I had to pay $690 because I went one unit below six, because six units is considered full time (in the summer).

“Now one little unit is costing me almost $700,” he said.

Although he is being supported by his family, Sanchez said that he still needs to pay for gas, food, and other supplies.

“I for one don’t agree with the lack of communication. People need to know about the changes being made or they might end up like me, owing almost $700 for one unit,” he said.

Kinesiology major Michael Inman said that this delay has affected him on a couple of different levels.

“Since books are so expensive at the bookstore and with the small disbursement I got, I had to find a cheaper way to acquire the books, he said.

Inman also said that he needed his transportation fixed before school started.

He continued, saying, “If I had the money in full I could have made things happen sooner and wouldn’t have to go through all this inconvenience.”

Like Sanchez, Inman does not agree with the new pell grant idea.

“I can understand delaying until you report to your classes the first week like they did last semester, but this is ridiculous,” he said.

Jose Pena, undeclared major, said, “I hate this new plan, I don’t know what’s going on or as to why they decided to split disbursement dates in half.”

Not all students thought this plan is a bad idea.

Psychology major Anthony Mendez liked the idea of students getting their money on separate dates.

He said that he likes the idea because “People could manage their money better.”

Music major Frank Reyes shared his thoughts on getting pell grants late.

“I do agree with the concept of not allowing students to get free money, but it sucks for those of us who actually pass our classes,” he said.