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      Loss of Pell Grant eligibility

      More than 5,000 Alabama publichigher education students lost Pell Grant eligibility in the Fall of 2012, withthe potential of 13,000 more being affected during 2013 as a result of changesin the federal guidelines.{} The cuts in Pell Grants have resulted in lowerenrollment at nearly every community college in Alabama, as well as at publicuniversities serving areas with high unemployment.

      These reductions stronglyjeopardize Alabama's goal to achieve higher levels of college completions.

      Those findings have been releasedin a study conducted by the Education Policy Center at the University ofAlabama.{} The study was commissioned by the Alabama Commission on HigherEducation (ACHE).

      In the past four years, 43,000 morestudents were using Pell to access Alabama public higher education.{}During that time period, federal Pell funding for access in Alabama grew by$300 million, 72% at two- year public institutions and 55% at four-year publicuniversities.{}

      {}"The federal changes willhave a huge impact in educational attainment," according to Gregory G. Fitch,ACHE executive director.{}{} "These reductions strongly jeopardizeAlabama's pipeline to higher levels of college completions".

      The Pell Grant program serves asAlabama's de facto state student aid program.{} The Alabama StudentAssistance Program, funded by the Education Trust Fund, uses state dollars tosupport needs-based education. It has seen a decrease in funding since2008.{} Another blow to student aid was Alabama's lost access to FederalLeveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) matching funds. LEAP waseliminated at the federal level.

      Alabama falls below the nationalaverage in the number of college graduates.{} The inability of students toget financial assistance could keep that number low which will hamper economicdevelopment growth.

      The detailed report can be found{} A Studyof Pell Grants in Alabama is located under Quick Links - CommissionInitiatives.