About 130,000 students at Missouri colleges and universities receive Pell grants annually, according to Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R).

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (right) and Moberly Area Community College President Jeff Lashley participate in an education roundtable on May 2, 2018 at MACC’s Columbia campus (photo courtesy of Senator Blunt’s office)

The Strafford Republican, who chairs the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, traveled recently to Columbia to host an education roundtable about Pell grants.

Blunt says the fiscal year 2018 budget bill signed by President Donald Trump, R, continues the year-round Pell.

“Just makes it possible for people who are adults returning to school, younger people who are paying for their own education, first-time attenders from their family to college, dramatically enhances the possibility you’re going to graduate,” Blunt says.

The Pell grant is named after former U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-Rhode Island, who served in the Senate for 36 years. Pell died in 2009.

Blunt says this is the first summer where college students can plan for year-round Pell grants, which assist students who have financial need.

“I think we’re going to see about 20,000 more Missourians in school this summer than we would have otherwise, and about a million Americans will be in school this summer,” says Blunt.

Blunt secured funding in the 2018 budget bill that raises the maximum Pell Grant award to $6,095, an increase of $175.

Blunt says one out of three students at Missouri colleges and universities receive Pell grants annually. He says year-round Pell grants help students complete their degree sooner and graduate with less debt.

“So you’d think well I’ll work full-time this summer and I’ll be back in the fall and sometimes that happens,” Blunt says. “And sometimes in the fall you think well this full-time job, I’m putting some money away I’ll be back in the spring and before you know it, you don’t get back.”

Blunt spoke to Missourinet and other mid-Missouri media outlets after the recent education roundtable at Moberly Area Community College’s Columbia campus, which is located on the Business Loop.

Some of the mid-Missouri community colleges that participated in the roundtable have 70% of students with Pell grants.

Blunt was surprised by that number.

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