Time is of the essence for Gregory Higgins. At 68-years-young, the Broward College student isn’t fooling around. Higgins is attending summer classes, with an eye toward graduating after the fall semester.

“It would have been easier just to chug along and graduate in four years,” said Higgins, who is on course to complete his undergraduate degree in Supervision and Management at Broward College in three years. “At my age, I’m looking to get through school as fast as I can.”

Higgins is one of 1,1938 Broward College students who is taking advantage of year-round Pell Grants this summer semester. The financial aid is perfect for students like Higgins, who are on a fast track to graduate and either enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year university soon after, or in his case, enroll in law school by 2020.

College students who need additional financial resources to complete their education sooner and more cost-effectively received good news last year when Congress approved restoration of year-round Pell Grants in its spending bill. Reinstatement of the year-round money allows students to receive up to 150 percent of a regular grant award over the course of the academic year, which makes summer classes more accessible and completing their degrees faster than they would otherwise more likely.

Up until last year, students attending summer classes could only use whatever grant aid they had not used in the fall and spring semesters. As a result, some students had to choose between taking the summer semester off or paying for tuition out-of-pocket.

Fast Track to Graduation

Financial AidThe additional grant aid is not only making that decision easier; research indicates it’s also helping students sustain momentum toward their degrees. That’s particularly important for students, who, due to work or family responsibilities, often can’t maintain 12 credit hours in a given semester. Making up classes in the summer makes graduation on time for these students that much more realistic.

Theresa Cowan, associate vice president for Financial Aid, said Broward College students who were enrolled for both fall and spring semesters must be taking a least six credits in the summer to receive their Pell award. Students who enroll in less than six credits may be still eligible for a limited grant.

She said all students must have their summer schedules finalized by June 6, 2019. Any changes after that date will not be included in the student’s financial aid award. However, the deadline does not apply to Broward College students who apply for Summer 3 only. All students receiving financial aid should check myBC frequently to review award amounts.

To be eligible for a Pell award, a Broward College student must demonstrate exceptional financial need on the FAFSA, be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and have not yet received a bachelor’s, graduate or professional degree.  

Eligible students who need help with college costs including tuition, fees and other educational expenses can inquire about Pell Grants, a form of federal financial aid that typically does not have to be repaid, at the Financial Aid Office.