Eastern Gateway says it can restart free university scheme after Pell Grant debate

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Diving brief:

  • Eastern Gateway Community College will actually offer a free college program this fall, he said less than a week after the initiative’s enrollment closed and told students they shouldn’t plan to receive funding from colleges. federal Pell grants due to US Department of Education concerns.
  • The Ohio public institution learned Monday afternoon that it would be able to disburse Pell funding and operate the Free College Benefit program, he said in a press release.
  • Eastern Gateway President Michael Geoghegan is still due to meet with Ed Department officials on Wednesday discuss recent allegations that the free college program violates federal law by charging more to students who receive title IV federal financial aid than to students who do not.

Overview of the dive:

Eastern Gateway operates two campuses, in Steubenville and Youngstown. He positioned the Free College Benefit program as a last-dollar initiative made possible through partnerships with local and national unions. Last dollar programs tap into other available sources of funding before contributing financially to student education.

Last week, the Department of Education said the college should stop offering the program. He said Pell Grants – which go to students with high financial need – were credited to student bills. Then, the remaining charges were recorded as paid by the exchanges. The college also waived bills for students who were not receiving Pell funding.

But the education department said it found few scholarships from outside entities.

“The EGCC simply waives/cancels all non-Pell/State grant fees on student accounts and falsely creates the impression that students are being funded by outside entities,” the Ed Department said. said in a letter of July 18. “Essentially, under this program, students who receive Pell funding are charged for the program, but students who do not receive Pell are not.”

Eastern Gateway responded with its own letter, saying the education department’s position suggests that institution-funded scholarships are not permitted. The community college argued that laws and regulations do not require scholarships to be publicly funded rather than institutionally funded.

“EGCC’s program does not charge a higher amount for student Pell recipients”, college letter says, signed by Geoghegan, the President. “Tuition and fees are the same for both populations, and the EGCC program simply ensures that all students can attend college for free, regardless of Pell eligibility.”

Eastern Gateway’s fall classes begin August 15. More than 75,000 students have enrolled in the free college program since 2015, the college said.

The Ed Department did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Eastern Gateway promised additional updates after Wednesday’s meeting.

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