Student enrollment and completion at community colleges increases when students are able to use their Pell Grants in the summer, according to a new paper from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College at Columbia University.
The study found that for each $1,000 of year-round Pell Grant funding given to a student, the likelihood of summer enrollment among Pell-eligible students increases by 27 percentage points and the likelihood of associate degree completion increases by 2.2 percentage points. The report examines data from 2009-11 — the last year summer Pell funding was available to students.
In May, Congress approved restoring year-round Pell in a spending bill, and the Department of Education made the grants available to students starting July 1. The federal aid allows students to receive up to 150 percent of a regular grant award over the course of an academic year, so they can continue taking courses in the summer and finish their degrees faster.