Pell Grants make a smaller dent in tuition costs
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 13:10
In these tough economic times, even the Pell Grant can’t keep up with rising tuition.
The grant no longer covers the same percentage of costs as it once did for Cal State Long Beach students due to rising tuition.
The Pell Grant, an award given to students who have not received a bachelor’s degree or professional degree, covered 84.5 percent of tuition and fees for an in-state student at CSULB in 2010-11.
The next year, the average Pell Grant covered only 65.6 percent of the same costs.
CSULB President F. King Alexander met with President Obama in December to discuss cost-effectively produce more college graduates.
“This is a concern that Obama expressed when we were in a meeting with him,” Alexander said. “There is no way that we can keep putting money into the Pell Grant.”
If more funds are put into the Pell Grant, less money will go towards educational institutions, according to Alexander. Likewise, the value of the grant would be negated if states were to cut their budgets.
“The battle is to sustain the Pell Grant,” Alexander said. “We’ve lost 34 percent in the past two years of our state appropriations. This is without a doubt the No. 1 significant factor in rising tuition and fees.”
While the percentage of costs that the Pell Grant covers has decreased over the years, total Pell Grant funds for CSULB has increased by 8.1 percent from 2010 to 2012. In the same time frame, CSULB tuition increased by 30.1 percent.
“The number of Pell Grant recipients and dollars received by CSULB students has increased pretty steadily over the past few years,” Nicolas Valdivia, CSULB director of financial aid, said via email.
Freshman communications major Julia Ip said the Pell Grant really helps with her tuition.
“I would hope it would cover more, [but the state’s] ability to keep it is good,” Ip said.
Dominique Noble, a sophomore political science major, said that regardless of the amount he has received from the Pell Grant, it has still helped.
“I don’t complain about it,” Noble said. “In this economic recession, I am grateful that I am able to receive it, considering the fact that there are some [students] that are more well-rounded and are not receiving it.”
He says that regardless of how much the grant covers and how much comes from his pocket, he wants the degree he is receiving to be worth the effort, not the money.
“At this point, I feel we need to pay more for less,” Noble said. “I would rather get less grant money if I had the assurance that when I get done in four years, I would have a job.”