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Getting Financial Aid for Summer Session Classes

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If you are taking summer classes at a college, check with their financial aid office and make sure you follow the process if you want to get financial aid. There are multiple ways you could get financial aid for this summer session.

First, the federal government instituted a new Two Pell in a Year program in 2010-11. The program was so successful it was deemed too expensive, but colleges may still pay students a portion of their second Pell grant if they have earned it. If you successfully completed enough units to reach the amount of units your college uses for a full-time academic year (usually 24 semester units or 30 semester units) PLUS one unit – so you would need to be enrolled in your 25th or 31st unit (or your colleges academic year plus one). If you are at that point the college financial aid office can trigger a second Pell grant payment for you. Colleges have different formulas for summer sessions, so check with your college or the college you will be attending for summer.

Second, if you attended college less than full-time in either the fall or the spring semester, you could be eligible for left over Pell grant payments.

Third, if you are a recent college graduate or someone who has just decided to go to college, you could be paid for summer enrollment. Most colleges will require that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As soon as you have completed the form, you should go back into the FAFSA system and do your renewal for the next year so you can be processed the fall semester as well.

Fourth, if you attended college full time for fall and spring semesters and received your full time Pell grant disbursements, you will not have any remaining money UNLESS you reach the academic year PLUS one explained in the first scenario.

What does your college do?  I don’t know. Each college sets their own criteria for how they process summer and how students demonstrate successful progression. Check out the financial aid web site for your college and see if they provide clear instructions for you. If you still don’t understand the process, check with the financial aid professionals at your school. Do it now. Summer school will be starting before you know it.

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