Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. Pell Grants provide a foundation of financial aid to which other aid may be added. The Federal Pell Grant is limited to 12 semesters, or the full time equivalent of 12 semesters.  See below for more information on the new Lifetime Eligibility Limits.  The Pell Grant is funded each year by Congress, which sets the award minimums and maximums.  Pell may be awarded to full, part time, or less than half-time students. Pell Grants are considered to be need-based aid.  A complete FAFSA required, there is no separate application.

Special Adjustments for Children of Deceased Service Members

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 grants an automatic zero EFC for the Pell Grant Program ONLY to Pell grant eligible students whose parent or guardian was a member of the Armed Forces and died in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.

Eligibility Exclusions

An individual subject to involuntary civil confinement or civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for a forcible or non-forcible sexual crime is ineligible for a Pell Grant.

Lifetime Eligibility

This is an exerpt from the Pell Grant web page from Student Aid on the Web:

Calculating Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds a student may receive over his or her lifetime is limited by a new federal law to be the equivalent of six years (12 semesters) of Pell Grant funding.  Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding a student can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.

How is my Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used calculated?

Scheduled Award: The maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive is calculated for an “award year.” An award year is a period from July 1 of one calendar year to June 30 of the next calendar year. Your “scheduled award” is partially determined by using your expected family contribution (EFC) that is calculated from the information you (and your family) provided when you filed your FAFSA. Your scheduled award is the maximum amount you would be able to receive for the award year if you were enrolled full-time for the full school year. Your scheduled award represents 100% of your Pell Grant eligibility for that award year.

Percent Used: To determine how much of the maximum six years (600%) of Pell Grant you have used each year, the Department compares the actual amount you received for the award year with your scheduled award amount for that award year. Of course, if you receive the full amount of your scheduled award, you will have used 100%. Some students do not receive their entire scheduled award for an award year. There are a number of reasons for this, the most common of which are that the student was not enrolled for the full year or that the student was not enrolled full-time, or both.

If you did not receive the full amount of your scheduled award, we calculate the percentage of the scheduled award that you did receive. For example, if your scheduled award for an award year is $5,000, but because you were enrolled for only one semester you received only $2,500, you would have received 50% of the scheduled award for that award year. Or if you received only $3,750 for the award year because you were enrolled three-quarter-time and not full-time, you would have received 75% for that year.

Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU): The Department keeps track of your LEU by adding together the percentages of your Pell Grant scheduled awards that you received for each award year. The table below shows examples of the LEUs of three students who received differing amounts of their scheduled awards over a four year period.

Examples of Pell Lifetime Eligibility used Student A Student B Student C
Award Year 1 Pell Grant Scheduled Award $5,550 $5,000 $4,000
Pell Grant Amount Received $2,775 $3,750 $4,000
  Percent Used 50% 75% 100%
Award Year 2 Pell Grant Scheduled Award $5,200 $5,000 $5,550
Pell Grant Amount Received $5,200 $5,000 $5,550
Percent Used 100% 100% 100%
Award Year 3 Pell Grant Scheduled Award $4,700 $5,000 $5,550
Pell Grant Amount Received $4,700 $1,250 $5,550
Percent Used 100% 25% 100%
Award Year 4 Pell Grant Scheduled Award $4,700 $5,000 $5,550
Pell Grant Amount Received $4,700 $5,000 $5,550
Percent Used 100% 100% 100%
Total Lifetime Eligibility Used - LEU

Note:  From 2009-20 through 2010-11, it was possible for a student to receive up to two scheduled awards in a year.  So some students will have a "percent used" of up to 200% for one or more of those years.

350% 300% 400%

Of course, if a student’s LEU equals or exceeds 600%, the student may no longer receive Pell Grant funding. Similarly, a student whose LEU is greater than 500% but less than 600%, while eligible for a Pell Grant for the next award year, will not be able to receive a full scheduled award.

How can I see my Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) percentage?

To view your LEU, you may log on to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Student Access Web site using your Federal Student Aid PIN.  The LEU will be found on the Financial Aid Review page.