Florida A&M’s office of financial aid hosted a workshop Wednesday to update students about new policies that could potentially affect their aid in the 2012-2013 school year.
Interim Director of Financial Aid, Michelle Williams, spoke to a nearly empty Perry Paige auditorium about how recent legislation has made changes to federal Pell Grant, a portion of funding she said is greatly affected by the bill.
“On Dec. 23, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriation Act for 2012,” said Williams. “Inside this act had financial aid and the biggest thing coming from that, that people are not paying attention to, is there is now a time frame on the federal Pell Grant,” said Williams.
Students were able to receive a Pell Grant for up to 18 semesters, but because of these changes students will now be able to receive Pell Grant for only 12 semesters, including summer semesters.
According to Williams, under this new policy, the federal government is now requiring that students show academic improvement in order to receive federal funds at all. If the student fails to do so, he or she is in jeopardy of losing funding for school.
“Now, they’re saying if the student doesn’t progress and doesn’t have the criteria to progress you need to cancel, suspend their financial aid. That’s the bottom line,” said Williams.
Graduate and professional students will also face changes effective July 1, 2012 as they will no longer receive subsidized loans. This means that the government will no longer finance accruing interest.
“Graduate [and] professional students used to get $8,500 subsidized $12,000 unsubsidized. Now, a graduate [or] professional student will receive $20,500 in unsubsidized loans,” said Williams.
While these are just a few of the changes students can expect next school year, Williams felt this information was important for the student body to know and that although attendance was low, she is confident that those who did attend will inform others.
“We always hope for more but we’re happy with what we receive because if we can get one person, we know we might get 10 more because you’re going to talk about it,” said Williams.
Students who would like further information can visit their website at www.famu.edu/financialaid for more updates.