Federal Pell Grant (Pell)

Federal Pell Grant (Pell) 
  • How do I qualify?
  • How much money can I get?
  • Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU)
    • How is my Federal Pell Grant LEU calculated?
  • Unusual Enrollment History
    • What will be required of you if selected?
    • Appeal Process
A Federal Pell Grant unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. You are not eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant if you are incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution or are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for a forcible or non-forcible sexual offense.

The Pell Grant can be used to pay your tuition, or, if your tuition is covered by other means, help you buy your books and supplies, or pay your transportation costs.

How do I qualify?

To determine if you're eligible financially, the U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula, established by Congress, to evaluate the information you report when you apply. The formula produces an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) contains this number and will tell you if you're eligible.

How much money can I get?

Amounts can change yearly:

For the 2015–16 award year (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016), the maximum award is $5,775. 

For the 2016-17 award year (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017), the maximum award is $5,815.

The amount you get, though, will depend on;
  • your financial need,
  • your cost of attendance,
  • your status as a full-time or part-time student, and
  • your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less. 
Important Note: You cannot receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.

Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU)

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.  

To find out your current LEU percentage, click on the following link:
  • https://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds/nslds_SA/
How is my Federal Pell Grant LEU calculated?

Scheduled award: The maximum amount of Federal 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 EFC that is calculated from the information you (and your family) provided when you filed your FAFSA
  • 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; and
  • 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 U.S. Department of Education 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%. It’s 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, 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.

The U.S. Department of Education keeps track of your LEU by adding together the percentages of your Pell Grant scheduled awards that you received for each award year. 

Unusual Enrollment History

Effective with the 2013-2014 academic year, the U.S. Department of Education has established new regulations to prevent fraud and abuse in the Federal Pell Grant Program by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories. Effective with the 2015-2016 academic year, the scope increased to all federal aid recipients, not just Federal Pell Grant recipients.  Students that have received federal aid at multiple institutions in the past four (4) academic years are flagged as having unusual enrollment.  Once flagged, the Financial Aid office must take action and review the prior academic history to determining federal financial aid eligibility for that student. 

Some students who have an unusual enrollment history (UEH) have legitimate reasons for their enrollment at multiple institutions. However, such an enrollment history requires our office to review your file in order to determine future federal financial aid eligibility. If selected by the Department of Education (via the FAFSA), this must be resolved before you will receive financial aid.

What Will Be Required of You If Selected

If selected, our office will notify you of what is required. We will check your financial aid history at your previous institutions that you attended during 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015.

You are required to have received academic credit at any institution you received federal aid while attending in those relevant academic years. We will notify you which institutions you need to request official transcripts/non-official transcripts from for our office to review. Once all transcripts have been received, our office will verify the academic credit was received at each institution during the relevant year. If so, we will notify you that you have satisfied this requirement. If you failed to receive academic credit at any institution you received a Federal Pell grant at during the relevant award years, your federal financial aid will be denied and you will be notified.

Appeal Process

If you were denied because it was determined that you did not earn academic credit, you may appeal by submitting an Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) Appeal Form. This appeal will be reviewed by our office and we will notify you of the decision. These decisions are final and are not appealable to the Department of Education.