Frequently Asked Questions about Federal Pell Grants

How do I apply for a Federal Pell Grant?

To apply for a Federal Pell Grant, you need to submit a complete FAFSA and be sure to complete Federal Verification if your FAFSA is chosen for Verification. Beginning in late March or April , we will inform all students with a completed FAFSA if they are eligible or not for a Pell Grant for the upcoming academic year. Eligible students will see their award amount (based on full-time enrollment) on the ‘Financial Aid Award Summary’ page in the ‘Financial Information’ section of SIS.

Can part-time students receive Pell Grants?

In general, yes. Pell Grant awards are prorated for part-time enrollment. A student that is eligible for a $4,000 annual Pell Grant award will be awarded the following for a semester based on enrollment status:

  • Full-time (12 or more credits) = $2,000
  • ¾-time (9 to 11.9 credits) = $1,500
  • Half-time (6 to 8.9 credits) = $1,000
  • ¼-time (less than 6 credits) = $500

 Under Federal Pell awarding guidelines, students with annual Pell awards below $2,325 may not be eligible for part-time awards, especially when enrolled less than half-time.

Why is the amount of my Federal Pell Grant on my eBill different than the amount I see on SIS?

The most common reason that the amount of your Federal Pell Grant on your eBill is less than the amount you see on SIS is that you are enrolled as a part-time student. The amount we initially award is based on full-time enrollment. However, Pell Grants are prorated (reduced) for part-time students. This prorated amount is calculated on your eBill. Toward the end of the drop-add period, we adjust students' awards to reflect their final enrollment status. Here's an example: Amy is eligible for a $2,000 Pell Grant for the Fall Semester if she is full-time. If she is a half-time (at least 6 credits but fewer than 9 credits) student, she is eligible for a $1,000 Pell Grant, and that is the amount on Amy's Fall Semester eBill, since she is enrolled in 7 credits.

Another reason is that your Pell Grant has a status of 'Hold'. There are several reasons why a 'Hold' status is used. It means that we have not yet determined you are eligible for the grant, and the result is no Pell credit on your eBill.

A third reason is that we have previously adjusted your Pell Grant semester award for part-time enrollment, and you have since changed your number of credits scheduled or registered. We periodically monitor for such changes.

I was awarded a Pell Grant for the current semester. If I drop one class, will my Pell Grant amount change?

It might, depending on what point in a semester you drop and if the drop will cause a change in your enrollment status. Changes in enrollment status that occur during the first three (3) weeks of a course that spans an entire Fall or Spring semester (or during the first 20% of a shorter duration class) do result in a recalculation of a Pell Grant.

For example, Chris begins a semester with 13 credits and a full-time Pell Grant award of $2,000. If Chris drops a 3-credit class in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd week of the semester, his enrollment status changes to 3/4-time (11 credits) and his Pell Grant award is reduced to $1,500. The College will also reduce the cost of the course by 70%. If Chris drops the course after the 3rd week, there will be no reduction in his Pell Grant.

Is there a lifetime limit on the number of Pell Grant awards?

Yes. All Pell-eligible students are limited to a lifetime maximum of twelve (12) full-time semesters (or the equivalent for part-time students), regardless of when they first received a Federal Pell Grant. The FAFSA informs students and the Financial Aid Office about students that are close to or have reached their lifetime limit. We also notify students that may not be eligible for all of their Pell Grant awards in any one award year. The U.S. Department of Education provides more information on the Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU).

I have completed the academic requirements for my bachelor degree program, but I have not officially graduated yet. Can I receive a Pell Grant?

No. Once a student has either earned a baccalaureate or higher degree, or has completed the academic requirements for such a degree, that student is no longer eligible for any federal or state grants.

I will schedule summer semester classes. Will I receive a Federal Pell Grant to help me cover my expenses?

As long as you meet all eligibility requirements for a Federal Pell Grant, including Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress, we will credit your account with a Federal Pell Grant for your summer classes. However, any refund directly the result of your Pell Grant (or any other grant) will usually not be available until July.

If I receive a Pell Grant during the summer of 2015 from the 2015-2016 award year, and I also attend during both the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 Semesters, will I receive a Pell Grant for both the Fall and Spring Semesters?

You will receive your full semester Pell Grant for the Fall 2015 Semester. However, your Spring 2016 Pell Grant will be reduced or eliminated, depending on your enrollment status (the number of credits you take).

Here are a few examples to help you understand:

  • Shawn has a $2,000 annual Pell Grant. He is enrolled in 7 credits (half-time) in the Summer Semester, and is awarded $500 in Pell funds. That leaves $1,500 remaining. If he is full-time (12 or more credits) for both Fall and Spring Semesters, he will receive $1,000 in the Fall but only $500 for Spring.
  • Melissa also has a $2,000 annual Pell Grant. She is enrolled full-time all 3 semesters. She is awarded $1,000 in Pell funds for both Summer and Fall Semesters, which leaves 0 Pell funds remaining for Spring.
  • Kyle also has a $2,000 annual Pell Grant. He is enrolled in 7 summer credits and is awarded $500 in Pell funds. That leaves $1,500 remaining. For Fall and Spring Semesters, he takes 9 and 10 credits, respectively (three-quarters enrollment). For each of those latter semesters he is awarded $750, which means there is no decrease in his Pell award for Spring.

If you have been awarded a Summer Semester 2015 Pell Grant from 2015-2016 funds and plan to be full-time for both the Fall and Spring Semesters and would rather have a full-time Pell award for Spring instead of a summer award, you can submit a written statement to the Financial Aid Office telling us so with your full name, Penn College Student ID#, phone number and email address. If it is a paper statement, please sign it in ink. The statement can also be sent from your Penn College email account.

Note: Some students have been awarded a Summer 2015 Semester Pell Grant from 2014-2015 funds. These students will not see a $ amount in the Summer Pell column on the ‘2015-2016 Financial Aid Award Summary’ page on their SIS but will see the amount on their Summer eBill. If your summer Pell Grant is from 2014-2015 funds, and you are again eligible for 2015-2016 Pell, your Spring 2016 Semester Pell award will not decrease because of the summer award.

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