Jasmine Hayes, For The Miami Student

Recent changes to the Federal Pell Grant Program may impact Miami University students’ financial aid.

The program is a federal grant for students with a high level of financial need. The amount of money is determined by the student-provided information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The government decides who is eligible for the grant and Miami awards the grant on behalf of the federal government, according to Brent Shock, director of the office of student financial assistance.

“About 18 percent or so students at the Oxford campus receive the Federal Pell Grant,” Shock said.

There were two primary changes to the grant that will take effect July 1, he said.

The first change eliminated the two grants in one school year provision, a new addition to the grant. Three years ago students could only receive one grant in one year, Shock said.

“This change will only impact students who are attending summer school,” Shock said.

According to Shock, if a student has used their full Pell Grant Program eligibility in the fall and spring semesters at Miami, they will not be eligible for a grant for the summer.

“I don’t receive a lot of money from the Pell Grant but every award I do receive helps me continue my education at Miami,” sophomore Stephanie Reed said.

The second change to the program reduced the number of years of full time grant eligibility from nine to six, Shock said.

“I’m never happy when federal aid is cut, but I also understand that in some respects through the eyes of [the U.S.] Congress this is done to preserve the program,” Shock said.

There is only so much money available to fund the program, he said.

“Miami University tried to proactively identify and notify students who receive the Pell Grant so they can be aware of the changes,” Shock said.

Miami informed students who accepted the grant last summer about the changes and advised them to come in and visit the office to go over all available financial aid options, according to Shock.

Shock said available options would vary depending on the student. Different types of financial aid will be considered to assist students with their education.

“We try to find any financial aid that we can help the student with, but finding options is really a case-by-case situation because it all will depend on the student’s enrollment and etc.,” Shock said.

Some advice Shock gave to students was to continue to complete the FAFSA because it keeps students in the running for the most possible financial aid. If students have specific concerns with financial aid they should visit Miami’s Financial Aid Office and schedule an appointment with a counselor.

“It’s depressing that the government is taking money away from students who need assistance to better their education, but I’m glad Miami is taking the time out to help students who might lose some financial aid,” Reed said.