Change in Pell Grants could be bad for Southern Miss students

By Karrie Leggett – email | bio

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -  President Obama wants to spend more on education, yet balance that spending by a proposed cut in Pell Grants for summer semesters - a cut that goes too deep according to David Williamson, Interim Director of Financial Aid at Southern Miss.

"Word is getting out about summer having Pells available for summer now, and so our summer enrollment is increasing. But this will impact them definitely for the summer. Our enrollment for summer might dip because of Pell not being available," said Williamson.

Not only is there a possibility of lower enrollment but this may result in an increase in loans, which students may have a hard time paying back.

"If the students get over their heads with loan debt our default rate will go up. That means students are not paying back their loans, then we could lose eligibility for federal funding," said Williamson.

Subtracting Pell Grants from summer semesters could mean adding years to some students college careers said Southern Miss junior, Lauren Casey.

"The most opportunities that I get to actually take my core classes are in the summer. When I can't afford to do that then I get behind in my degree, because I have to take certain classes, certain semesters. If I get behind then I am going to be in school an extra four semesters," said Casey.

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