BRADFORD, Pa. — More than 40 University of Pittsburgh at Bradford students from Allegany and Cattaraugus counties will have their Pell grants doubled when they return to school in the fall.
Last week, officials from the University of Pittsburgh announced the new Pitt Success Pell Match Program, which will match the Pell grant amount students receive, dollar for dollar, beginning this fall. The program is for current students as well as new students who enroll this fall and receive a Pell grant.
One of the students who will benefit from the new program is Colton Miller, a first-year student from Hinsdale who is studying criminal justice.
“With this grant, it will take the burden of financial stress off my back,” he said, “and I can focus more on staying on campus rather than traveling to and from work every day after classes.”
Miller works about 30 hours a week in Olean. So far, he has successfully managed his studies — he was on the dean’s list in the fall; his off-campus job; and his roles as treasurer of the Emergency Medical Services Club and vice president of the Criminal Justice Club.
“This grant will allow me and other students to participant in the events that we often miss due to work.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s Pell Grant program provides need-based grants — money that does not have to be paid back — to help promote access to postsecondary education for the neediest students. Students whose total family income is $50,000 a year or less qualify. In addition to income, grant amounts depend on several other factors, including the cost of attendance and if the student will attend full or part time.
For Pitt-Bradford students from Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, the average Pell grant was $4,356 and the total amount awarded was $94,356 for the 2018-19 academic year.
Overall, 38 percent of Pitt-Bradford’s students receive a Pell grant. However, that percentage is higher for students from the three New York counties. In Allegany County, 40 percent of students receive a Pell grant and in Cattaraugus County, 43.2 percent are Pell recipients.
“This new Pitt Success Pell Match Program will have an enormous impact on our students from the region,” said Lawrence Feick, Pitt-Bradford’s interim president. “Receiving matching Pell grant dollars will lighten their financial burden, reduce the amount of money they need to borrow and ultimately help them achieve their Pitt degree with less debt when they graduate.”
This new program will not only benefit current Pitt-Bradford students but incoming students as well, according to Dr. James Baldwin, vice president for enrollment management.
“The Pell Match program opens the door to many prospective students with the desire and the qualifications to be able to attend and be more successful,” Baldwin said.