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What Good Is New Summer Pell Money if Students Can’t Use It?

The semester is winding down and summer is coming, but don’t get too excited about that recently passed summer Pell budget – it looks like it won’t become a reality for most students until summer of 2018.

Educators cheered a budget extension passed by Congress last month, which restored “year-round” Pell. The change is huge for low-income students, who can now get summer college courses covered by the needs-based federal financial aid program. That can make it more likely that they’ll graduate.

But it seems doubtful that the new aid will be available this summer. The Education Department is supposed to issue guidance on how colleges can start distributing the aid, but not until July 1, and that won’t give them enough time to put systems in place to make it happen.