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October 09, 2007

Gavilan College welcomes new legislation that will help students pay for college

GILROY, CA - On September 27 President Bush signed legislation, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, passed overwhelmingly by Congress, that will increase the maximum Pell Grant from $4,310 to $5,400 a year by 2012. It also cuts the interest rates on federally backed student loans from 6.8% to 3.4% over the next four years, and makes California Community College students eligible for Pell grants at the same level as students in other states. The increase in financial aid will be offset by cuts in subsidies that the government makes to banks, totaling about $20 billion nationally.

"Many of our students struggle to pay all the expenses associated with college. By helping students with these expense -- books, fees, transportation, and housing -- we help them to succeed in the classroom and complete their education," said John Pruitt, Vice President of Student Services as Gavilan College. "A lot of students don't realize that financial assistance is available. I would encourage them to contact the Gavilan College Financial Aid Office to see if they are eligible for any of these programs."

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act is especially important for California's community college students because it eliminates a provision known as "tuition sensitivity" in the Pell Grant program that kept California students in the system from receiving the same Pell Grant amount provided to all other eligible students (due to California's lower community college enrollment fees.) This change will provide those who receive the maximum Pell Grant an additional $200 to $400 per year, which can be used for books and supplies, transportation to campus, housing, health care and other expenses. Although California colleges have lower fees than other states, the total cost of education includes items that are more expensive in California, such as housing.

The new law will also increase the maximum Pell Grant from the current $4,310 to $4,800 next year and to as much as $5,400 by 2012. Approximately 270,000 California community college students received a Pell Grant for the 2006-07 academic year. Under provisions of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, that number is likely to grow because other changes made by this bill will let students earn more money by working and still qualify for financial aid. The bill will also simplify the application process for some low-income students and families, cut interest rates on some federal student loans by half over the next four years and provide for lower loan payments based on earnings after college.

To find out about eligibility for Pell grants, student loans, and scholarships, go to www.gavilan.edu/finaid or call (408) 848-4727.

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Last modified: August 17, 2011
Gavilan College Red Diamond 5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard Red Diamond Gilroy, CA 95020 Red Diamond (408) 848-4800