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News Contact:
Cathy Summa-Wolfe
, Director
Communications & Community Relations
415-485-9528

Record Number of College of Marin Students Seek Financial Aid

Pell Grants increased 94 percent; Stafford loans, 85 percent

Kentfield, CA— June 8, 2010 — As College of Marin heads into summer session, its Financial Aid Office reports that the amount of student aid provided to students has doubled in the last two years, resulting from a boost in overall enrollment and an increasing need for assistance.

A snapshot of growth in the last two years for the two largest financial aid categories paints the picture: Pell Grant awards increased 94 percent between 2007-2008 and 2010-2011; and Stafford loans jumped 85 percent.

“We continue to be open and many other public schools are reducing their offerings,” said David Cook, director of Financial Aid & Career Aid at the College of Marin. “The real increase in demand comes from the economy.”

Enrollment accounts for part of the increase. A total of 8,025 credit students enrolled at College of Marin for spring 2010, compared to 7,139 students last year at the same time and many new students are eligible for financial aid.

As four-year universities continue to turn away students due to budget cuts, displaced applicants are turning to community colleges like College of Marin to pursue their higher education. Other economic factors like high unemployment also drive up enrollment. Unemployed or underemployed workers are going back to school in greater numbers to learn new skills or prepare for career changes.

A total of 1,548 financial aid applications have been awarded for the 2010-2011 year, compared to 1,134 in the previous year and 832 in 2008-2009. About 4,000 students – or half the total student population – receive a California Board of Governor’s Grant (BOGG) fee waiver to attend the college.

In the 2009-2010 year, $4,906,300 was provided to students in federal Pell Grants, a 46 percent jump from $3,360,540 provided to students the previous year. Last year, there was also a big jump – 32 percent – from 2007-2008.

A total of $3,906,066 was presented in federal Stafford loans in the 2009-2010 year, a 30 percent increase from the $3,013,074 provided in 2008-2009. In 2007-2008, $2,108,649 was provided in Stafford loans.

“That’s a lot of dollars and a lot of applications,” said Cook.

The cost to attend College of Marin and other California community colleges is only $26 per unit. The Legislative Analyst Office suggested that the Legislature raise fees at community colleges by $14 per unit, but the Governor did not include a fee increase in his budget proposal.

Last year, the Obama administration simplified the federal loan application process for applicants and expanded Pell Grants and college tax credits. The Recovery Act increased Pell Grants by $500 to $5,350 for 2009-2010 and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit, a new $2,500 tax credit for four years of college tuition.

College of Marin summer session begins June 14. Students can enroll online at www. marin.edu. For more information about financial aid at College of Marin contact David Cook at 415-485-9405.

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The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Grant amounts are dependent on a student's expected family contribution, the cost of attendance, enrollment status and whether a student attends for a full academic year or less.

Federal Stafford loans are fixed-rate student loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half-time. Stafford loans are the most common and one of the lowest-cost ways to pay for school.

The U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics reported last year that 63 percent of all undergraduates received some type of financial aid in 2007-2008. Of the undergraduates, 47 percent received federal aid, averaging $6,600 for that year.

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