JDCC chosen for Pell grant experiment

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, July 24, 2013

JDCC-Welling, Smith, Eby

Area residents who already have a bachelor’s degree but are looking to expand their skills or change careers in the changing economy could get financial help to attend Jefferson Davis Community College under a new federal experimental program.

JDCC was chosen by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in an experiment with the federal Pell Grant program. Pell grants are awarded to students to help undergraduates afford college.

Previously, students with a bachelor’s degree were prohibited from receiving Pell grant funds.

JDCC President Dr. Daniel Bain said the experimental program may provide an opportunity for many to learn a new trade, making them more employable in the current economic condition in the area.

“We are pleased to have been chosen to participate in this excellent opportunity that is available to people who need to be retrained during this recovering economic climate,” Bain said. “We at JDCC hope that people will be interested in joining us this fall.”

The financial aid will be available beginning this fall, and can be used for academic programs that last less than a year.

“Students who already have a bachelor’s degree do not currently qualify for federal Pell grant funds,” Bain said. “In this experiment, however, students with a bachelor’s degree may qualify to use federal Pell funds to pursue a short certificate in an approved vocational program that is one year or less in duration.”

Financial Aid Director Vanessa Kyles said the application process for the new grant opportunity is an easy one.

“This will be an easy process for anyone wanting to take advantage of this experiment,” Kyles said. “The government is using this as a push to see if allowing people a chance to learn a new skill will put them back to work. In this sluggish econmy, this is a good move.”

Currently JDCC offers five certificated programs that fall into the categories outlined in the experimental program.

Classes in welding, auto body repair, air conditioning, industrial engineering technology and drafting and design technology are currently offered and fall into the realm of requirements for grant funding.

In order to qualify for grant funds in this new program, students must meet certain criteria including being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, unemployed or underemployed, and not be in default of any student loan nor owe repayment of Federal financial aid. Also, male applicants must satisfy the Selective Service registration requirement.

Students are encouraged to apply on the free application for Federal Student Aid as soon as possible so that initial eligibility may be determined. The Federal Government will determine eligibility through normal channels.

If a student is selected to participate in the epxeirment, he or she must provide JDCC with career and employment information for the period being covered by Pell for up to two years following completion or withdrawal.

Prospective students should contact Vanessa M. Kyles, director of Student Financial Aid at JDCC at 809-1516 or by email at vanessa.kyles@jdcc.edu.