Here’s some good news for students who were attending classes at a school that suddenly closed: the Department of Education has announced that their Pell Grant eligibility will be restored.
The department is going to email Pell Grant recipients who went to for-profit colleges like ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges, which closed abruptly after declaring bankruptcy, that they will again be eligible for the federal grants.
Unlike most forms of student aid, Pell Grants have a lifetime cap on funding. Students can only receive those funds for a total of six years or 12 full-time semesters. Because of this, many of the more than 50,000 Pell Grant recipients who attended ITT and Corinthian could not enroll at a new college or university.
Education department officials say the change will immediately benefit at least “several thousands of students” who had met or were about to meet their Pell Grant lifetime funding limit, according to US News. It will also benefit students who haven’t reached their limit but who will be able to go back to school with more grant eligibility time.
The Trump administration’s restoration of Pell Grant eligibility carries out a promise made during the Obama administration to help students enrolled at for-profit colleges, particularly those that closed suddenly.
It also brings fairness to a system that allowed students at abruptly closed schools to have their student loans discharged and their eligibility to continue borrowing restored. Now, students will also be able to have their federal aid grants restored, too.
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who was a Pell Grant recipient herself, found a provision in the federal Higher Education Act that would allow the DOE to restore eligibility to students who had used their lifetime allotment of Pell Grant money.
“I am pleased that the Department of Education is taking this step that I pushed for and is finally restoring Pell Grants for students previously enrolled in dishonest, failed colleges,” Murray said in a statement. “This is an important step to provide relief to students, but it can’t be the last one—and I am going to keep pushing this administration to put students and borrowers ahead of for-profit colleges and Wall Street investors.”