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The proposed changes would allow students to receive Pell Grants for a third semester during an academic year and reward students who take 15 credit hours each semester.The proposed changes would allow students to receive Pell Grants for a third semester during an academic year and reward students who take 15 credit hours each semester.

President Barack Obama wants to help college students complete degrees faster by introducing two changes to Pell Grants.

The proposed changes would allow students to receive Pell Grants for a third semester during an academic year and reward students who take 15 credit hours each semester.

“I think from a student perspective it’s a wonderful opportunity,” said Cindy Burnette, director of student financial assistance at Western Kentucky University.

If realized, the changes would create an additional $2 billion in Pell Grants for students in fiscal year 2017, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Education.

While many college students lose access to Pell Grants after two semesters, the Pell for Accelerated Completion would award almost 700,000 students next year with an extra $1,915 on average. Meanwhile, the On-Track Pell Bonus would encourage students to finish

college in four years or faster “through an increase in the maximum Pell Grant award of $300 for students who take 15 credits per semester in an academic year,” the release said. Such a move would help an estimated 2.3 million students next year, the Department of Education said.

Unlike a loan, a Pell Grant doesn’t have to be paid back, and they’re awarded based on need, Burnette said. Year-round Pell Grants used to be available to college students, she said, but the government wasn’t able to sustain them financially.

“I think it’s a good idea if there’s longevity to it,” she said, adding that students won’t get much mileage out of the change if it disappears again.

As for the change rewarding full-time students, Burnette said WKU students are considered full time when they’re taking at least 12 hours.

“It would lower their debt because they would be able to get out of college faster,” said Sandy Neel, executive director of student financial aid at the University of Louisville.

Previously, year-round Pell Grants were difficult for universities to award, but now it seems to be becoming more simplified, she said.

Nimmi Wiggins, director of student financial aid and Scholarships at the University of Kentucky, also approved of extending Pell Grants throughout the year.

“Under the current regulations, Pell Grant recipients enrolled full time during the fall and spring semester have no remaining eligibility for Pell in the summer,” Wiggins said in an email. “With limited funding options, many students opt to not attend summer school. A summer Pell program will allow low income students to take summer classes and graduate on time.”

Although she said it was difficult to predict how many students would take summer classes because of the change, it has helped UK students in the past.

“Back in the summer of 2010 and 2011, the federal government did make Pell Grants available to students who had used up their eligibility during the fall and spring terms,” Wiggins said. “UK had more than 500 students each summer take advantage of the program.”

Funding for the federal program has risen in recent years, Wiggins said, but so have costs for students. The maximum Pell Grant for 2015-16 totals $5,775.

“Typically, students borrow up to their annual loan limits and full-time students are awarded the Pell annual limit during the fall/spring terms,” Wiggins said. “Also, many scholarship programs are geared toward helping students during the fall/spring semester. The availability of Pell dollars during the summer will provide students with an incentive to enroll in summer school.”

Rewarding students who take full-time course loads is also worth it, she said.

“Graduating at a faster pace will certainly mean a lower cost for the student,” she said.

By Aaron Mudd
Bowling Green Daily News

Apply Now for ACTC Practical Nursing Program

The Practical Nursing Program at Ashland Community and Technical College is now accepting applications for the Fall Semester 2016 class, and March 1 is the application deadline.

"Practical Nursing is a good program for people from ages 18 to 50 plus who want a healthcare career that requires just three semesters of college," said Terri Ratliff ACTC assistant professor and program coordinator.

The diploma program combines classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences. The program provides the knowledge and skills needed for a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). An LPN monitors, evaluates and responds to patient needs under the direction of a Registered Nurse or physician.

Under the guidance of faculty, students gain experience in the care of clients of all ages in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, health care facilities, long-term care facilities, child care centers and physician's offices.

The program is granted monitoring approval by the Kentucky Board of Nursing, and graduates are eligible to take the National Council of Licensing Practical Nursing examination. Once licensed, they can find employment as LPNs in hospitals, nursing homes or convalescent care centers, physicians' and dentists’ offices and in various other health care agencies. 

Graduates may also choose to continue their education. "For many students, practical nursing is a stepping stone to other health careers," Ratliff said. "With a practical nursing diploma, they have a good foundation for future education in the nursing field."

Practical Nursing is a selective admission program, and prospective students need to complete an application for the program. Applicants must also submit an ACTC application, scores from the ACT or COMPASS test, and transcripts from other colleges attended.

Applications are available online at: under Academics, Programs of Study, Licensed Practical Nursing. Applications can be turned in at the Admissions Office at the College Drive Campus and the Student Services Offices at the Technology Drive Campus.

For more information, contact Ratliff at 606-326-2465, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Talent Needed for Apollo Night

Amateur performers who dance, sing, play an instrument, read poetry, or perform a comic or dramatic routine are needed for A Night at the Apollo. There is no entry fee, and the registration deadline is February 12.

A Night at the Apollo is a Black History Month celebration of amateur night at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theatre. Held this year on Saturday, Feb. 20 in the ACTC Theatre on the College Drive Campus, the free show is open to solo and group performers from the Tri-State area.

Prizes for the top three adult acts are $200, $100 and $50. Prizes for young performers, up to age 12, are $75, $50 and $25. To register, call Al Baker at ACTC, 606.326-2422, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Basic Computer Skills

If you are new to Windows or need to sharpen your computer skills, this class will help you get up to speed with today's technology. Held Mondays, Feb. 22 to March 14, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the class includes hardware definitions, simple applications such as word processing (MS Word) and spreadsheets (MS Excel), navigating Windows and exploring the Internet.

Those completing the class will have the knowledge and confidence to use computers for personal or work related tasks. Written materials will be provided by instructor Jim Fox, ACTC’s Information Technology Coordinator. A flash or USB drive is recommended for saving class exercises but is not required.

The class will meet at the College Drive Campus, and the fee is $89. Register online at:, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 606.326.2072.

Electrical License Exam Prep

Get ready for the Kentucky Electrical Journeyman License Exam with a Saturday class at ACTC.

The course is designed for people who have the hours and experience necessary to take the test but who need a refresher course before taking the exam. Test-takers need to have six years of work experience or four years of work experience plus at least 576 hours of classroom training from an approved training agency program.

The class is a mixture of lecture and hands-on exercises, and students can take a practice exam. Instructor Lennis Adkins is a KY Licensed Master Electrician with more than 40 years of electrical experience.

The class meets six Saturdays, Feb. 13 to March 19, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Roberts Drive Campus. The $279 fee includes a workbook, but participants should bring their latest edition of the International Building Code. Register online at:, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 606.326.2072.

When finished with the class, students can sign up to take the exam at ACTC’s Workforce Assessment Center by registering with

ACTC Closed February 15

ACTC will be closed Monday, Feb. 15, for President’s Day. Normal class and office hours will resume February 16.


FEBRUARY 1, 2016

Financial Aid Tip of the Month, February 2016

Federal student aid programs can help pay college costs


The federal government sponsors numerous financial aid programs that can help students and their parents pay college expenses. This brief summary from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) describes the more common federal grant and loan programs. Grants generally do not have to be repaid, but loans do.

Federal Pell Grant: Pell Grants provide up to $5,815 per year for undergraduates with financial need. The amount may change this year.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: grants that provide up to $4,000 per year for undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need.

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: These loans, also called Stafford Loans, are available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The amount students may borrow depends on their year in school.

Federal PLUS Loan: Parents of dependent undergraduate students may qualify for PLUS Loans, depending on the parents’ credit ratings. The amount available depends on how much other financial aid the student receives. Graduate and professional students may apply for PLUS Loans if they have exhausted their Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan eligibility.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to apply for all of these programs. Families seeking a PLUS Loan must also submit a separate application.

KHEAA is the state agency that administers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), need-based grants and other programs to help students pay their higher education expenses.

To find links to other useful education websites, go to For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7214.

January 14, 2016


Louisville, Ky. (Jan. 14, 2016) — Borrowers who are repaying student loans from different lenders or programs now have a new refinance/consolidation option: an Advantage Refinance Loan from KHESLC.

With an Advantage Refinance Loan, borrowers can combine all their student loans into one convenient loan, save on interest charges and get out of debt faster.

Any school-certified loans are eligible. They can be private loans, Federal PLUS Loans for parents or graduate students, Federal Stafford Loans or Federal Perkins Loans.

KHESLC’s fixed interest rates begin at 3.99 percent. The exact rate will depend on creditworthiness.

To qualify for an Advantage Refinance Loan, a borrower must:

  • Be in grace status or in loan repayment.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen with a proof of residency card.
  • Have an acceptable income and credit history.
  • A cosigner may be required for some borrowers.

Applications may be submitted online at or at For more information, call 800-988-6333.

KHESLC is a public, nonprofit corporation that provides education loans for students and parents.