Author: Jessica Dickler
No matter how small, any unpaid balance can prevent a college senior who’s otherwise in good standing from graduating. During the pandemic, this became a very real risk for some.
Christian O’Neil, 25, was on track to receive his diploma last June but his college funds ran dry midway through his senior year.
O’Neil had spent two years at a community college before transferring to the University of California, Riverside. His federal Pell Grant wasn’t enough to cover the entire cost without taking on more student loan debt.
“I was 400 miles away from home, with no expectation of help from my parents,” he said.
Instead, UC Riverside stepped in and offered O’Neil $1,000 for each of his remaining three quarters of school.
“It was very instrumental in completing my degree,” he said. Otherwise, “I would have had to drop out.”
Research shows that even a $100 late fee or parking fine can derail a student’s graduation plans in their final semester.
Now, nearly a dozen of the nation’s largest public research universities — known as the University Innovation Alliance — are giving out “college completion grants” of up to $1,000 so students like O’Neil can get their diploma.
Read the full article at CNBC.