2012-2013 Pell Grant Qualifications

Congress passed the 2012 Budget on December 16, 2011, which keeps the Pell Grant maximum amount at $5,550 for the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 school terms.  This amount has not changed, which surprised many in the financial aid system, since there is a $1 Billion + Pell Grant budget deficit.  The Pell Grant is to assist low income students, while attending an approved Title IV school. 

Students will still have the opportunity to receive the maximum $5,550 Pell Grant award, but the eligibly for the 2012-2013 school year has made it more difficult for students to receive a Pell Grant.  In order to be eligible to receive a Pell Grant, students must now have a General Education Diploma (GED) or high school diploma.  This requirement now makes it extremely difficult for immigrant populations who do not have degrees that are recognized by the United Stated education system. 
The 2012 appropriations bill that was passed changes the Pell Grant Eligibility and Requirements for the 2012-2013 school year now caps the number of semesters a student can receive a Pell Grant, which is now a total of 12 semesters instead of the previous 18 semesters..  Students that are in school for longer than 12 semesters are no longer eligible to receive the Pell Grant.  According to the Institute for College Access & Success, this new requirement will impact nearly 100,000 students, mainly African American and transfer students.  African-American students make up 24 percent of all Pell Grant recipients, but they also make up 41% of Pell Grant recipients working towards a degree after 6 years.

The new bill also lowers the income level that a student must have in order to receive the maximum Pell Grant amount from $30,000 to $23,000.  Students that once qualified to receive the full Pell Grant amount with an income of only $30,000 may no longer be eligible for the full amount unless their income is $23,000 or less.

All new 2012-2013 Pell Grant eligibility and qualifications will impact students enrolled and in school as of July 1, 2012.   
Pell Grant Qualifications