Bustos Bill on Pell Grants

May  09, 2013

     To help them complete their education, students should be able to attend college year-round. And that's the goal of a bill introduced today by Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos - the Access to Education and Training Act.

     Currently a popular federal financial aid program, Pell Grants, cannot be used for summer classes, only fall and spring. Bustos says students should be able to use the grants, and go to school during the summer too.

     During a recent tour of the 7 community colleges in her 17th district, Bustos says students and staff both told her the grant program isn't flexible enough.

     Thomas Baynum is president of Black Hawk College in Moline and Kewanee. He says since the summer grant restriction went into effect, the number of recipients at his college has dropped 8 per cent per year. And it's a critical problem for students enrolled in programs such as welding, auto mechanics, and nursing. 

     Baynum and Bustos agree the Access to Education and Training bill would help not just Black Hawk College, but students at colleges across the country.