Lifetime Pell Eligibility

New Limit on Federal Pell Grant Eligibility

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law significantly impacted the Federal Pell Grant Program.

  • Effective, July 1, 2012, students are now limited to 12 semesters (or 600%) of Federal Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime.

This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Federal Pell Grant. Students who have received 600% Federal Pell Grant as of 2011-2012 will no longer be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant beginning in the Fall 2012 semester and thereafter.

How Do I Know If This Affects Me?

  • If you have attended college for 4 years or longer, receiving full-time Federal Pell Grant each year you are likely to exhaust or have already exhausted your lifetime limit of 12 semesters of Federal Pell Grant eligibility during the 2012-2013 school year.
  • If you have attended college and received the Federal Pell Grant for
    3 years or less
    you will likely not surpass the lifetime limit during the 2012-2013 school year.

Whether or not you have used all of your Federal Pell Grant eligibility or only half, please be conscious of the lifetime limit of the Federal Pell Grant when scheduling or changing classes.

You may not appeal your lifetime eligibility used. Once you have reached your 600% limit you are no longer eligible for Federal Pell Grant. There are no exceptions and it is not possible to appeal by submitting a Petition for Reinstatement. A school has no legal ability to award students beyond the 600% limit.

How Is The Percentage Calculated?

The percentages are based off the annual award at full-time enrollment status. For students with an annual award attending 12 or more credits each semester (Fall and Spring for example), the percentage used would be 100%. If you only attended 9 credits for two semesters it would be 75%. For more information see the Federal Student Aid website.

Can I See My Lifetime Pell Grant Used?

You may view your percentage of Federal Pell Grant used by logging into NSLDS.ed.gov. Your “Lifetime Eligibility Used” percentage will be displayed in the “Grants" section.


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