Post-baccalaureate students not eligible for Pell Grants

Post-baccalaureate students not eligible for Pell Grants

Students who come back to Eastern to receive a second degree may have a hard time finding ways to fund their schooling, but contrary to what some may believe, there is help out there.

Students who return to, or transfer to, Eastern to receive a second degree are termed post-bacc students. This means that they have received a bachelor’s degree and are either receiving a second or a master’s.

According to a post-bacc enrollment document for fall quarter 2013, there are currently 332 post-baccalaureate students at Eastern.

“Federal regulations allow for Pell grants to be offered only to first-time, undergraduate students,” said Dr. Neil Woolf, associate vice president of enrollment management.

According to Dr. Woolf, once students receive their first undergraduate degree, they are no longer eligible for the Pell grant. This is because the undergraduates are the priority for the grant.

Pell grants make up a bulk of the federal grant money.

According to, an exception to this is when a student comes back to acquire a teaching certificate or license.

Shannon Flynn, associate director of financial aid, said that provisional graduate students are eligible only once during their education for federal aid for one 12-month period.

Provisional graduate students are students taking undergraduate classes in order to be admitted into a graduate program. These students are also considered post-baccalaureate students.

The 12-month calendar does not stop, so even if a student chooses to take a quarter off, Flynn said that the clock will still tick down.

Though it may seem tough for post-baccalaureate students to pay for schooling, they do have options.

Student loans are an option and are available through the school, but according to Dr. Woolf, private or alternative loans through banks and other lending institutions are also available.

Eastern does not have a preferred lender list for legal reasons, meaning that the school does not endorse or recommend banks or lending organizations. Dr. Woolf said that this is because doing so could cause the hyping up of one bank or lending organization over another.

According to Flynn, Eastern’s financial aid site does offer information about private and alternative loans and even offers a link to, where students can find information about private and alternative loans.

Eastern’s financial aid site also provides a list of lenders that students have used in the last three years.

Flynn encourages students taking out loans to go through financial awareness counseling on She said that students can use their loan information to do mockups of what repayment will look like based on loan debt, annual salaries and other variables.

According to Kandi Teeters, associate director of financial aid, post-bacc students are also eligible to compete for scholarships.

On-campus jobs are another way for post-baccalaureate students to earn money, according to Dr. Woolf.

He is fond of the Program Leading to University Success, or PLUS, tutoring program and said that it is a great job for post-back students.

“A lot of times, post-bacc students come back because they realize, after years in the career field, that they got the wrong degree,” said Dr. Woolf.

Dr. Woolf advises that post-bacc students sit down with a financial advisor to see what their options are and to also schedule time with an academic advisor to find out what classes they have to take so they are not wasting time taking classes they do not need.