Ramifications of the Pell Grant Compromise, New Changes for 2012

Recently, Congress has gone into the trenches of debate about the Pell Grant and its future funding. The reason this issue is so important is because many of the students in the low income bracket depend on this money to attend college.

SOURCE: AP Photo / Evan Vucci

Consider this: Cutting the Pell Grant will most likely deter the poorest in our country from overcoming poverty because they won't have the chance to further their education and in today's job market, people who have a degree have a clear advantage when applying for a job.

Although Congress maintained the maximum reward at $5550, they made a few changes one of which will shorten the amount of semesters you will be able to receive a Pell Grant. Now, instead of 18 semesters you will only be able to receive it for 12 semesters. This change will affect an estimated 100 thousand students that will no longer qualify according to InsideHigherEd.

What is more astounding is that changes in the grace period have also been made to accommodate the budget proposal for the Pell Grant. This means that the grace period of six months after you graduate will no longer be available for subsidized, direct loans that are made between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014. You will be responsible for paying these loans as soon as you graduate so borrow conservatively.

Another change that will affect a portion of the student population that receives the Pell Grant is the new requirement of having to have a high school diploma or a GED. This will most likely affect the minorities like African Americans and Hispanics. This change will either push them to make the grade or discourage them from continuing. Time will tell what this transition will bring about in the end.

My final word of advice to you would be to start preparing ahead of time for sudden changes like this. You can do a number of things like start spending less and saving on items you purchase. Becoming more frugal may be the best answer to saving more money for college. Also, you need to start looking for more scholarship money even if they only come in small amounts. Anything helps.

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