Changes to Pell Grant program may leave Michigan college students felling shortchanged

Feb 14, 2011

Michigan college students might have a more difficult time affording summer school classes.  There’s a debate in Congress that might put restrictions on one certain type of federal tuition assistance. 

Pell Grants help many financially needy students afford college classes.   For example, 15 hundred Wayne State University students used their Pell grants to pay for classes last summer.  

But President Obama wants to change the Pell program to restrict the grant funds to Fall and Spring semesters.  Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress want to cut the size of Pell grants by about 20%. 

Al Hermsen is the director of financial aid at Wayne State University.  He's worried about the effect the proposed changes could have on students who need the Pell grant money.

 “If I had to choose between that I would say eliminate the year-round Pell in order to save the full funding level for the regular academic year would be my personal opinion.”

Hermsen says 9 thousand Wayne State University students received Pell grants worth almost $45 million last year.