Pell Grant limited after six years
Six departments address current issues by advisors and students around the campus.
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 19:10
New federal legislation limits Pell Grants to students who have attended college fewer than six years, the director of student financial services, said Oct. 24 during a panel discussion as part of Employee Development Day.
The director, Rose Carreon-Munoz, was part of a panel of student services officials that included Michelle Gable, assistant bursar; Martin Ortega, director of enrollment management; David Rodriguez, director of counseling and advising services; Adolph Lopez, director of assessment and testing center; and Julie Engel, chair of student development.
Carreon said the Title 4 Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2012 requires current students or future enrolled students to complete a degree in six years, 144 hours and or 12 full-time semesters or they will no longer be Pell eligible.
Students are able to get this information through the office of admissions, and student financial services will track the records of the students to let them know if they are nearing or have met their six year Pell limitation.
“It’s really important that students follow their certificate or degree plan and periodically meet with their academic adviser or counselor,” Carreon said.
Student financial services also has financial aid literacy sessions to help students gain knowledge and information on how to handle financial aid resources.
“What the program does is give the students a foundation in how they can handle their finances while they are in college, Carreon said.
Another thing student financial services does is April Literacy Month.
Multiple events will be hosted all over the five district colleges to give students the opportunity to apply for financial aid, apply for scholarships and attend financial literacy sessions.
“Everything that we do is to help the students in gearing up to the priority date,” Carreon said.
Student financial services also have FAFSA Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Every Saturday is a citywide effort to help students fill out their FAFSA so they can meet the priority date.
“May 1 is a crucial date, and it’s consistent among the colleges. It’s a guarantee that students who do apply by the priority date are processed by the first day of class,” Carreon said.
Texas Higher Education Coordinating board requires students to maintain academic satisfactory after each term.
After each term students have to meet 67 percent completion with a grade-point average of 2.0.
Gable explained that AlamoCash cards are refunded once a week by the bursar’s office, and they are the only refund process.
Checks are issued if there is an issue or error with the refund, she said.
VIA Metropolitan Transit bus passes are $35 a semester and are good for the entire semester, and they are available in the office.
Parking passes are currently $50 but will be reduced to $30 in the spring and $18 in the summer. Parking passes are good at any of the Alamo colleges.
Ortega explained the units that make up enrollment management. They are the welcome center, admissions and records, residency and reports, assessment center, and the college recruitment team.
Enrollment services assists with updating students’ majors, updating students’ home college and receiving transcripts.
They also prepare and update the college bulletin and catalog with information approved by the Curriculum Review and Evaluation Committee.
Enrollment services processes graduation applications and organizes commencement in May.
“We put on an amazing ceremony and have a goal of making the next ceremony better than the last, and I think we have succeeded,” Ortega said.
Counselors work with the first-time-in-college students and the undecided majors, Rodriguez said.
“Our goal is to get them started, and they have a good first semester,” Rodriguez said.
Counselors also work with students on academic dismissal. They process their initial petition, limit the number of courses they are allowed to take, and require students to check in with counselors with progress reports.
Counselors work with the student financial services to set up a system to assist students who are on financial aid suspension.
Counselors also provide personal counseling.
“Our goal is mainly to access and refer because we are limited in the number of sessions we can provide for each student,” Rodriguez said.
“We do crisis interventions when necessary. We work with the student, and if it is a more in depth situation, we refer out to the community,” Rodriguez added.
The counseling center also provides online counseling and advises Travis Early College High School juniors and seniors who are seeking associate degrees.
“We also have students walk in on a regular basis and we try to guide them in the right direction. We seem to be a first stop for a lot of students,” Rodriguez added.
Lopez explained that all students entering a public college for the first time after Sept. 1, 2003, and transfer students who have not completed the Texas Success Initiative are required to test.
Testing is done to satisfy the Texas Success Initiative mandated by the state Legislature, and the college requires testing to determine placement.
The placement test that is currently being used at Alamo Colleges is the Accuplacer.