UMass students react to possible Pell grant expansion

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – President Obama is boosting funding for a program that will help financially challenged students.

As part of his new budget proposal, President Barack Obama is boosting funding for Pell grants. Pell grants are federal funded rewards that don’t have to be paid back. They’re given to students who demonstrate their financial need.

One of the proposals would reward students with $300 for taking at least 15 credits of classes every semester. Another proposal would help students graduate early by extending federal Pell grant funding into the summer months.

“The accelerated part for over the summer. I think that’s good thinking. A lot of people, including myself are realizing. I need to be on track, maybe even graduate a little early,” said UMass sophomore Connor Roberts.

The extra $2-billion dollars in Pell grant funding would bring the government’s total contribution to $31-billion, helping nearly eight and a half million students across the country.

“Tuition for schools as gotten so large over the past couple of years that anything that can help students pay for their education is definitely an important thing for the country,” said freshman Ben Callan.

But the money wouldn’t help students like Daniel O’Brien.

“Me, I don’t use financial aid, but I still think it’s good that the president is helping us out.”

Before it’s official, congress needs to approve the money. The average amount that a student who qualifies for a Pell grant receives is about $3,600.

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