WASHINGTON — Pell Grants for low-income college students can now be used for summer studies.

The U.S. Education Department announced Monday that year-round Pell Grants will be available starting July 1, allowing students to take summer classes and graduate sooner.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says the decision “is about empowering students and giving them the flexibility and support needed to achieve their goals.”

Pell Grants have traditionally been used to pay for a student’s fall and spring terms, but demand for a year-round option has grown as more students take summer courses.

Students enrolled at least half-time can now get up to 150 percent of their typical grant amount.

Year-round grants existed from 2009 to 2011 but were cut mostly because of funding shortages. They were revived in this year’s spending bill.