President Barack Obama unveiled his proposed budget for the year, and some of his ideas to cut down the national budget may affect college students.
One of the proposed ideas is to make cuts to the Federal Pell Grant Program, a program that provides need-based grant money to college students. The Pell Grant is awarded to help pay for school and, unlike loans, does not have to be repaid.
With the cost of tuition rising, many students need additional funds to receive an education and complete school on time. But one of the potential cuts to the program is to eliminate Pell Grant awards during the summer term.
According to FAFSA, the purpose of providing awards during the summer semester was to allow students to accelerate their progress to a degree.
Roney Jones, 19, a sophomore industrial engineering student from Gainesville, said this change could hurt his chances of taking summer classes.
“It makes me worry about how I’m going to continue or even pay for summer school because without a Pell Grant I would have to find the money myself,” Jones said.
Jones is not the only student that may be put in a difficult position.
Chantal Shippy, 19, a sophomore pre-physical therapy student from Miami, said if she isn’t able to receive financial aid over the summer, she would have no reason to work over the summer in Tallahassee.
“I pay rent off campus, so it’s going to be a waste of time if I don’t have the money from the FAFSA,” Shippy said. “If my rent is already paid and I don’t have money for classes then I would feel like I’m not doing anything up here.”
At FAMU, more than 80 percent of students use some form of financial aid. With many degree programs implementing summer school into the curriculum, some students may have a harder time finishing college.
Interim President of Student Affairs William Hudson said that a change to financial aid could affect the retention of students at FAMU.
“In-state students see a lesser effect than out-of-state students,” Hudson said. “But either way it could affect either one as far as their matriculation into college, and their progress towards graduation, and their ability to be retained in college as well.”
Hudson also said that for students, finances are where they take the biggest hit.
However, even with the chance of less money for students, Hudson says he believes FAMU as a whole will be okay.
“My hope is that we will still increase enrollment,” Hudson said. “We will provide a great education to students, many of whom would not be in college if not for Florida A&M University We would like to bring as many students as we can accommodate back on campus.”
He also said that even though there could be less money for students, many students would not have as many financial burdens if they managed their money properly as “college students.”
Despite what may happen to the Pell Grant program, students will still be able to receive the grants during the fall and spring semesters. The change to the program is expected to lower the national deficit.