Under new regulations passed by Congress, thousands of African Americans will lose their Pell Grant awards as of July 1. For many of these students, the loss of federal grant money will force them to drop out of college. Others will decide not to enroll in the first place.
The new rules eliminate Pell Grants for college students who do not have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. There are more than 65,000 college students without high school diplomas who have been receiving Pell Grants. An additional 63,000 students who have been receiving Pell Grants but have been in college for more than six years, will not be eligible for additional grants. In the past, students who were enrolled in college for up to nine years could receive Pell Grants.
The cuts will be disproportionately felt by Blacks and other minorities. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, African American students comprise about a quarter of all Pell Grant recipients but make up 41 percent of Pell Grant recipients working toward a degree after six years. Thus, more than two out of every five students impacted by the new rule abolishing Pell Grants for students in college for more than six years, will be African Americans.