When that happens, community colleges are forced to pay the federal government back, and that can get pretty expensive. Last year, Lincoln Land owed nearly $265,000. At Parkland, it's about $150,000, and the same goes for Lakeland. Those schools were able to recover some of that money by billing students.
The problem is nationwide. Reports show more than 3.5% abused Pell Grants, costing taxpayers about $1.2 billion.
The scammers are sometimes referred to as "Pell jumpers." Experts say they're hard to track because there's no way to find out why they chose to leave school.
One financial aid director defends the program and says most drop out for legitimate reasons, like having to move for work or getting sick. He says a majority of students use the money the way they're supposed to.
Each Pell Grant is worth more than $5,500. A student can get the grant up to six years. The U.S. Department of Education is working on new regulations to close the loopholes.