Last updated: July 29, 2022
Who does this impact?
All current and future students participating in the Free College Benefit program.
I am a current student using the Free College Benefit, what information can be provided?
The colleges are awaiting further information regarding the Department of Education’s guidance on the Free College Benefit for current students. We will update this response as information becomes available, please check back frequently.
I am a current student using the Free College Benefit, should I still enroll for the Fall 2022 semester?
Eastern Gateway Community College and Central State University are encouraging current students to enroll for the fall semester while they await further information regarding the Department of Education’s guidance on the Free College Benefit for current students. They will be sending out frequent communications throughout this process and will advise students about next steps once there is a determination.
Paul Quinn College is encouraging current students to enroll for the fall semester, and we have been advised that the college will cover the costs for the program, but details of this should be confirmed by contacting the school directly.
I am interested in enrolling in Free College. Will I be able to do so in the future?
The U.S. Department of Education has determined that the way scholarships are used in the Free College program to pay for students that are not eligible for Pell Grants is inconsistent with its regulations. Unless and until the Department of Education changes its opinion, the program may not be offered in its current form.
I am eligible for a Pell Grant. Can I continue my education with the Free College partners Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC), Central State University (CSU) or Paul Quinn College (PQC)?
Yes. However, if the Pell Grant is not sufficient to cover the entire cost, you are responsible for paying the balance. Talk with the institution’s financial office for more details. As a Pell grantee, you are also eligible to attend any other school to which you are admitted. The Pell Grant belongs to you, not the school.
I am not eligible for a Pell Grant. Can I continue in the Free College program?
It has not yet been determined how an existing student will be treated if they are not eligible for a Pell Grant. We are in discussions with the Department of Education and our higher education partners to resolve this issue. Existing students will be directly notified of their status by the colleges.
How do I know if I am eligible for a Pell Grant?
If you are enrolled in a school, talk with the school’s financial office and they can verify your eligibility. If you are not currently enrolled at any school, you will need to complete an application form and the financial office of any college at which you are considering enrollment will calculate your eligibility before you enroll. Click on this link to learn more.
As a current or former student, will I be responsible to pay for any costs that I have already incurred?
Are the schools closing?
No, EGCC, CSU, and PQC are not closing their online or campus locations.
Who should I contact to discuss Financial Aid and my courses?
EGCC – For Free College questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call EGCC Admissions Counselor at 1-833-465-2505 or the Financial Aid Help Desk at 1-833-465-2505 option 2.
PQC – For Free College questions, email email@example.com.