New Pell Grant Regulations

Learn How the Pell Grant Is Changing

What is a Federal Pell Grant?

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Federal Pell Grants are direct grants awarded through higher education to students with financial need who have not received their first bachelor’s degree.

What’s New About the Pell Grant Program and How Will It Affect Me?

The Department of Education established an aggregate lifetime limit, which means students may receive up to 12 semesters of the Federal Pell Grant. Effective July 1, 2012, the limit of up to 6 full-time years (600%) includes all the time a person was a student at any postsecondary institution, including community colleges, vocational schools and four-year public and private universities. This limit will be tracked by the U.S. Department of Education.

However, once you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree, you are no longer eligible for a Pell Grant even if you haven’t received the entire 600% eligibility. In addition, you must also meet and maintain satisfactory academic progress standards to remain eligible each year. Students must also meet all other eligibility criteria, including the required Pell EFC as noted above.

When students receive one-half of their Federal Pell Grant Scheduled Award in the fall and the other half in the spring, no Federal Pell Grant funds remain for the summer. Ultimately, it becomes even more important for students to make satisfactory academic progress so that they can graduate before they reach their Pell Grant limit. And while the limit as been established, the Pell Grant program still exists to serve help students cover their college costs.


Learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress by visiting our website at