Students and education groups are renewing the call for state lawmakers to increase funding for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant. They say that state money for college is not available to many students who attend two year colleges.
And Brandon Whitehorn, a student at Wright State University, says limitations on the money that say it can only be used for tuition creates hardships for many students.
"The Pell Grant alone does not take care of a lot outside the tuition costs," Whitehorn said. "So the pricing of textbooks, parking and even daycare weighs in as decisions for people to pursue their education. We're talking about people who juggle between life, family life and also stay up late at night to work on schoolwork. And while doing this, they have to make the decision to take the required class or hold off for another semester where they can afford it."
Whitehorn says too many students have to take out expensive loans just to meet their living expenses.
In 2009, funding for the state grant program was cut from $352 million a year to $171 million a year. The new rules for the program say the grant can only be used for tuition after a federal Pell grant is used for the same thing. Because of this, many low income students say they find themselves without money for books and living expenses.