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Congress changes maximum timeframe for Pell Grant Eligibility from 18 to 12 semesters (For Everyone)!


In the FY 2012 budget bill, Congress changed the length of time a student may receive Pell Grant support. Effective July 1, 2012, all students are subject to a lifetime maximum of 12 semesters or its equivalent (the cumulative percentage of scheduled awards received by the student; the student's lifetime limit is thus 600 percent).

For example,

  • A student who has attended full-time for a full year will have received 100 percent of his scheduled award for that year. If this student receives payments for half-time attendance for the next full academic year (e.g., two semesters), he will have received 50 percent of his scheduled award. At the end of the two years, this student's "lifetime eligibility used" (LEU) is 150 percent. 
  • A student whose 2011-2012 Federal Pell Grant scheduled award was $5,550, but who only received $2,775 because she was only enrolled for one semester, will have used 50% of that award year's scheduled award.  Similarly, a student who was enrolled three-quarter time for the entire award year would have used 75% of his scheduled award.  

To review your remaining eligibility, you may review your Pell History online via www.NSLDS.ed.gov

The law eliminated any grandfathering for this provision. Thus, all students are affected come July 1. Once all past Pell Grant usage is totaled, any student who's LEU equals or exceeds 600 percent may not receive additional Pell Grant funds.

As a result, students who are continuing to pursue their 1st Undergraduate degree and have received 600 percent or more of their Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU), as determined by the Department of Education (ED), will no longer be eligible to receive Pell Grant Awards.  Eligibility for other aid programs, dependent upon Pell Grant Eligibility, may also be cut for these students due to the loss of Pell (SEOG and Louisiana Go Grant).   

ED will perform the tracking and notification functions associated with the Pell Grant limit.

Interim Communications to Students 

In mid-April, the Central Processing System (CPS) will begin sending e-mail messages to all 2012-2013 FAFSA applicants who appear to be Pell Grant eligible and who have COD System reported Pell Grant disbursements that are in excess of 450 percent of their Pell Grant lifetime eligibility. This process will be repeated weekly until July for FAFSA filers and for filers making corrections to their FAFSA information. 

Note: To stay informed of the latest information regarding Federal Student Aid changes for 2012-2013, please check your SUBR and Personal Email accounts frequently.