Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law has significantly impacted the Pell Grant Program. Beginning in Fall 2012, students are now limited to 12 semesters (or 600%) of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant.


HOW DO I KNOW IF THIS AFFECTS ME?

  • If you have attended college (or another post-secondary institution) for 4 years or longer and received the Federal Pell Grant each semester of full-time attendance, 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 for 3 years or less and received the Federal Pell Grant each semester of attendance, you will likely not surpass the lifetime limit during the 2012-2013 school year.


Whether you have used all of your Federal Pell Grant eligibility or only half, please be conscious about the lifetime limit of the Federal Pell Grant when changing majors and/or scheduling classes.


HOW IS THE PERCENTAGE USED CALCULATED?

The percentages are based off of the annual award at full-time enrollment status. For example:

  • A student attending in the academic year 2012-2013 at full time status and receiving his maximum annual award, the percentage used for the year 2012-2013 is 100%.
  • If the student attends only ¾ time for each semester, the percentage used is 75%.
  • If the student attends only ½ time for each semester, the percentage used is 50%.
  • If the student attends less than half time for each semester, the percentage used is 25%.


HOW WILL I KNOW IF YOU HAVE REACHED OR ARE IN DANGER OF REACHING THE LIFETIME ELIGIBILITY?

In mid-April 2012, the Department of Education began sending e-mail messages to all 2012-2013 FAFSA applicants who appear to be Federal Pell Grant eligible and have reported Federal Pell Grant disbursements that are in excess of 450% of their Federal Pell Grant lifetime eligibility. This process was repeated weekly until July for FAFSA filers and filers making corrections to their FAFSA information.


TRACKING YOUR LIFETIME ELIGIBILITY USED ON NSLDS

You can find your Lifetime Eligibility Used for the federal Pell Grant by going to www.nslds.ed.gov and creating a student account. NSLDS, the National Student Loan Data System, tracks your lifetime Pell Grants, loan usage and overpayment status. If you have loans, you may also view how much you owe and to whom.


THE NATIONAL STUDENT LOAN DATA SYSTEM (NSLDS)

Step 1:

Obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) from the U.S. Department of Education. You PIN serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal records with the U.S. Department of Education systems. You can request a PIN via the U.S. Department of Education’s PIN website at www.pin.ed.gov.


Step 2:

You can access NSLDS by going to www.nslds.ed.gov On the NSLDS screen, click on Financial Aid Review.


Step 3:

Read the privacy statement on this screen. If you agree, click Accept to find your Lifetime Eligibility Used. A security configuration question may or may not prompt depending on your browser’s security configuration. If you are comfortable with your browser’s current security configuration, click Accept to continue. The Confirming Your Identity screen will appear after you click Accept.


Step 4:

Enter your Social Security Number (SSN), the first two letters of your last name, your date of birth, and your PIN to confirm your identity.


Step 5:

View the Financial Aid Review screen listing your total Lifetime Eligibility Used.


For additional information on Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility, you may contact Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).