Need help paying for summer classes? Here’s how to find out if you can get a Pell Grant.

Undergraduate students attending metro-east colleges and universities can get help paying for summer classes if they’re eligible for the need-based, federal Pell Grants, according to officials.

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, the U.S. Department of Education allowed students who used all of their Pell Grant money for the year on classes in the fall and spring semesters to get more funding to use in the summer.

Here’s how it works:

If a student is eligible for a $2,000 Pell Grant for the year, for example, they will likely get $1,000 in the fall and $1,000 in the spring to take classes full-time, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

After the change to the Pell Grant program, the student could get another $1,000 payment in the summer to take classes part-time.

Research suggests that students who don’t take a break from classes are more likely to finish their degree or certification, Angela Weaver stated in a news release. Weaver is Lewis and Clark Community College’s director of financial aid.

Students can receive Pell Grant funding for a maximum of 12 semesters, or roughly six years.

Unlike a loan, a Pell Grant is a form of financial aid that students don’t have to pay back unless their eligibility changes.

The Free Application for Student Financial Aid is how schools decide whether students are eligible for the federal grants every year.

If students don’t already have a FAFSA filled out for the 2017-18 academic year, they have until June 30, according to Beth Juehne, the director of financial aid at McKendree University in Lebanon. It’s available online at

The U.S. Department of Education stated that the maximum amount of money a student can get from a Pell Grant for 2017-18 is $5,920. The amounts change every year.

How much students get depends on their financial need, the cost for them to attend college, whether they are a full-time or part-time student and whether they plan to attend college for a full academic year.

Students are required to enroll in at least six credit hours in their undergraduate degree program for the summer to be eligible for the Pell Grant money.

Here are the deadlines to apply for summer classes at local schools:

Lewis and Clark Community College: May 21 for the 12-week classes or June 4 for the eight-week classes.

McKendree University: June 1.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville: The day before a specific class begins.

Southwestern Illinois College: June 4.

For more information and to find out how much Pell Grant money a particular student is eligible for this summer, contact the college’s or university’s financial aid department.