Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility

The Pell Grant award amount you receive over your lifetime is limited by a new federal law.  This law now limits qualified applicants to receive the Pell Grant for the equivalent of six years.  Students that are in school for more than six years will not be eligible for a Pell Grant, even if they are considered low income. 

To determine how much of the maximum six years of Pell Grant awards you have used each year, the U.S. Department of Education compares the actual amount you received for the award year with your scheduled award amount for that award year. If you receive the full amount of your scheduled award, you will have used 100%. Itís possible that you might not receive your entire scheduled award for an award year. There are a number of reasons for this, the most common of which are that you are not enrolled for the full year or that you are not enrolled full-time, or both.

If you did not receive the full amount of your scheduled award, the Department of Education calculates the percentage of the scheduled award that you did receive. For example, if your scheduled award for an award year is $2,500, but because you were enrolled for only one semester you received only $1,750, you would have received 50% of the scheduled award for that award year.
The Department of Education keeps track of your Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility by adding together the percentages of your Pell Grant scheduled awards that you received for each award year.  If you are unclear of the Pell Grant Lifetime Calculation, you should contact your schoolís financial aid office to determine how many eligible years are left. 

The Pell Grant is a great option to pay for your education, since the Pell Grant award does not have to be repaid.  Eligible applicants can use their award to pay for any school related expense, which includes tuition, textbooks, computers, rent, etc.  Most schools will automatically deduct tuition from the Pell Grant.  Any remaining financial aid funds will be distributed to the recipient.   

To become eligible for the Pell Grant, applicants must complete and submit the FAFSA application either online or through paper application.  The FAFSA takes your income, assets, cost of attendance, and other qualitative measures to determine if you qualify for federal financial aid.  The Pell Grant award will be reflected within your financial aid package letter that is distributed by your schoolís financial aid office.
Pell Grant Qualifications