Eastern Gateway Community College can enroll students and disburse Pell Grants for its online free college program for union members this fall, according to a press release on the college’s website.
This news comes less than one week after the U.S. Education Department told the institution to stop enrolling students, saying it had violated federal financial aid rules by using some students’ Pell Grant funds to essentially subsidize the enrollment of other students who do not qualify for federal aid.
“The last few days have been unsettling and confusing for all of us, especially our students,” Eastern Gateway president Michael Geoghegan said in a July 22 video message to the student community after the Education Department decision last week. “Your concerns and frustrations are valid … We are currently working on addressing all your concerns.”
The college received the news that it can restart its free college program in a phone call from Jeremy Early, Department of Education Midwest Division chief for federal student aid, according to the press release. Eastern Gateway also reported that Geoghegan was scheduled to meet with Education Department officials yesterday to discuss the financial aid issues at the heart of last week’s allegations.
The Free College Benefit program at Eastern Gateway promises American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees members and their families the opportunity to earn a college degree “with no out-of-pocket cost for tuition, fees, or books after any federal or employer grants are applied.” The school charges for tuition, fees and books, though grants or scholarships ensure that students do not pay.