The Pell Grant is considered a form of "gift aid" and does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned their first bachelor's degree and who exhibit exceptional financial need. After you complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the U.S. Department of Education uses a formula established by Congress to calculate your and your family's "expected family contribution" (EFC) for the upcoming year. The EFC figure determines whether or not you qualify for a Pell Grant. Pell grant Table 2012-2013.
Pell Grants are tentatively posted to your expense slip based on your planned enrollment as stated on your Data Form submitted to Financial Aid. Your actual Pell award amount is based on your actual enrollment level as of the last day of drop/add of classes and will be credited to your student account the day after drop/add each quarter. Your awarded Pell Grant will be corrected (reduced) if you are reported as never having attended a class or if you have a backdated add or drop for a quarter within the current academic year.
Maximum Pell Grant
The maximum Pell Grant award is determined annually by Congress. The maximum scheduled Pell Grant award for 2012-2013 is $5,550 for a student with a zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC). 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.
You may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.
The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by a new federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%. You’ll receive a notice if you’re getting close to your limit. If your Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) equals or exceeds 600%, you may no longer receive Pell Grant funding. Similarly, if your LEU is greater than 500% but less than 600%, while you will be eligible for a Pell Grant for the next award year, you will not be able to receive a full scheduled award.
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 (ED) 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. ED keeps track of your LEU by adding together the percentages of your Pell Grant scheduled awards that you received for each award year. The calculation of the duration of a student’s eligibility includes all years of the student’s receipt of Pell Grant funding. You can log on to National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) using your Federal Student Aid PIN and view your LEU. The LEU will be found on the Financial Aid Review page.
Declining Pell Grant Funds
A student may decline all or part of a disbursement of Pell Grant funds that the student is otherwise eligible to receive. A student may wish to take this action if the student expects to qualify for a larger Pell Grant in future years as a result of an expected transfer to a more expensive educational institution or an expected change in the student’s expected family contribution.
To decline Pell Grant funds, a student must deliver to the school a signed, written statement clearly indicating that the student is declining Pell Grant funds for which he or she is otherwise eligible and that the student understands that those funds may not be available once the award year is over. The school must, if necessary, submit any adjustment records for the student to the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System.
Returning Pell Grant Funds
A student may return all or a portion of Pell Grant funds that the student was otherwise eligible to receive, as long as this action is taken during the same award year. Again, a student may wish to take this action if the student expects to qualify for a larger Pell Grant in future years as a result of an expected transfer to a more expensive educational institution or an expected change in the student’s expected family contribution.
To return all or a portion of Pell Grant funds, the student must deliver to the school a signed, written statement clearly indicating that the student is returning Pell Grant funds for which he or she is otherwise eligible and that the student understands that those funds may not be available once the award year is over. The student must return the funds directly to the school, and the school must return those funds to its Pell Grant account. The school must then submit the required adjustment records for the student to the COD System.
A student may not return any Pell Grant funds from a prior award year that the student was otherwise eligible to receive.