While Brooke Arnold of Hackett only had two classes left to graduate from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith after this spring semester, she began looking for a way to earn those credits without having to complete another 16-week semester as a working mother.

Thanks to a change in Pell Grants this year that allow students additional grant monies for summer courses, she won’t have to.

Following the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, students can now receive year-round Pell Grants that include both summer semesters. To qualify, students must enroll in six credit hours in the summer and meet the criteria for reception of Pell Grants.

Dr. Georgia Hale, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said summer courses and year-round Pell Grants can help students complete additional credit hours to graduate on time.

“We are strongly urging students to complete 30 credit hours each academic year so they can graduate on time,” she said. “The availability of additional Pell funding will allow students who have not met the 30-credit-hour goal to enroll in the requisite classes to remain on track to graduation.”

Arnold is taking two online courses this summer to complete her Bachelor of Applied Science degree and plans to graduate in the fall to pursue a degree in healthcare.

“With my busy lifestyle of having kids and working, being able to have the summer Pell Grant available has been a blessing,” she said. “It feels great to be able to finish my degree within the next couple of months.”

Summer enrollment includes any regular courses taken during the first or second five-week summer sessions and 10-week summer session. Summer awards will be based on full-time enrollment (12 or more credit hours) and award amounts will be adjusted or canceled once enrollment is confirmed and academic progress is reviewed.

For more information on year-round Pell Grants, visit https://admissions.uafs.edu/financial-aid/year-round-pell-grant or contact the Financial Aid Office at 479-788-7090 or finaid@uafs.edu.